Alcohol enhances risk-taking behaviour

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London, Apr 30 (UNI) Three glasses of alcohol make a person fearless and enhance risk-taking behaviour, a study said.

The brain scanning study revealed why people are more prepared to take risks when they are intoxicated.

Dr Jodi Gilman and Dr Daniel Hommer at the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism used a scanner method called functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the resulting changes in activity in emotion-processing brain regions.

In the experiments, the participants received either alcohol, the equivalent of three or four drinks, or a saline solution intravenously over two 45-minute periods, and were shown images of people showing fearful facial expressions.

It was found that when participants received the placebo, fearful facial expressions spurred greater activity than neutral facial expressions in the brain regions involved in fear and avoidance.

However, these regions showed no increased brain activity when the participants were intoxicated, showing they were failing to recognise threats.

Prof Marina Wolf, at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago Medical School, said, ''The key finding of this study is that after alcohol exposure, threat-detecting brain circuits can't tell the difference between a threatening and non-threatening social stimulus.'' ''At one end of the spectrum, less anxiety might enable us to approach a new person at a party, but at the other end of the spectrum, we may fail to avoid an argument or a fight,'' the Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying.

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