The Taste of Beer

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Just a taste of beer can affect a person’s brain, according to a study at Indiana University School of Medicine.  Researcher David Kareken looked at brain imaging data on 49 men who got a taste of beer – too little for the alcohol to create a high — and checked for evidence of the reward-related brain chemical dopamine.

“The mere taste of beer, absent any significant dose of alcohol, was itself sufficient to produce a dopamine response within the brain’s reward centers.”

Kareken noted beer’s flavor would be reliably associated with its intoxicating effects. In this case, the taste alone triggered a jump in dopamine levels.  The response was significantly stronger among those with a family history of alcoholism.

The study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

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