Apr 16, 2013 1:56 PM by NBC News

Small sip of alcohol can affect the brain quickly

Just the taste of an alcoholic beverage can trigger the brain's release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that's linked to drinking and other drugs of abuse.

Brain scans of 49 men revealed increased dopamine activity after several sips of beer compared to when they sipped a sports drink.

The effect was even greater among men with a family history of alcoholism.

Researchers say this explains why sensory clues like a small taste or smell of alcohol can spark cravings and cause relapses in those with addiction problems.



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