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Study: Alcohol interferes with male partnering

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It sounds like an old cliche but it is true: After a bout of drinking together, males are less interested in pairing back up with their partner while females are more strongly attracted to their mate, at least in an animal model of human behavior.

In a study out Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers looked at prairie voles, one of the few animals that engage in longterm monogamous relationships and one that has proved to have the same kind of neurochemical responses that humans have during social interactions.

Appropriately for this kind of study, they love to drink alcohol and encourage each other to drink.

‘They’re party animals,” said Dr. Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. “They drink a lot more than mice. Also, when they are together they drink more. The amount of alcohol they drink is related to how much their partner drinks. They are social drinkers as well.”

But after drinking during 24 hours of cohabitation, males were less likely to choose their partner again compared to males that drank water, but the opposite was true for females.

“If they are both drinking and they happen to be engaging in behaviors that would promote a pair bond, the females are more likely to develop that bond,” Young said. “They’re more likely to become attached with alcohol. It’s as though the alcohol is activating, greasing those neurochemical circuits that are involved in formation of an attachment. Whereas for the male, it doesn’t seem to be at all, at least not for the attachment part.”

Attraction and addiction appear to be very similar in the brain and can use some of the same areas and transmitters, said Dr. Karen L. Bales, an Augusta native who is now the vice chairwoman of psychology at the University of California, Davis. She was not involved in the study but is familiar with the research.

“It’s been suggested that love and addiction share the same neural systems (you then become ‘addicted’ to the person you love),” she said in an e-mail. “Given the different ways that men and women relate to drugs of abuse, and to relationships, it’s probably not surprising to see sex differences in how the drugs of abuse affect relationships. We should of course be careful in directly extrapolating to humans.”

Young also is cautious about making a direct comparison to humans but noted that if one did “it would suggest that a couple drinking, having a good time, it would mean that the female would be more likely to develop these attachments to that male where the male would be seeing it more as a physical interaction and not develop the attachments afterward, which can be destructive.”

Two of the main chemicals involved in attachment in humans, oxytocin and vasopressin, do not appear to be affected by the drinking. Instead, it is chemicals related to anxiety that the drinking seems to lessen. The less-worried male then is less likely to pair up, while the less-anxious female appears to be more attracted.

The most important part is that these animals are not being affected by social convention or cultural expectations as humans might be, Young said.

“The animals are driven really by these neurochemical events,” he said.

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corgimom
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corgimom 04/08/14 - 06:45 am
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"The less-worried male then

"The less-worried male then is less likely to pair up, while the less-anxious female appears to be more attracted."

The authors of this study need to come check out the Augusta bars, and see how "less likely" men are to pair up after they've been drinking *snort*, they would change their minds in a hurry.

Butterman
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Butterman 04/08/14 - 06:49 am
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Beer Googles
Unpublished

There is a difference between hooking up and pairing up with a mate.

seenitB4
98777
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seenitB4 04/08/14 - 08:16 am
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Yerkes National Primate Research Center

This center is near me...soo this is what yall are studying there..dang.

We could solve this riddle with a 6pack of beer...corgi has it right!

Riverman1
94459
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Riverman1 04/08/14 - 09:18 am
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C'mon, Baby, Have One More

Someone with an advanced degree is actually paid for such a nonsensical study? Why do they think men have been trying to get women to drink for a couple of thousand years? This study says it makes them more loving. Well, a great big duh. Then they say males are less likely to want to be with the female after they sober up. Again, a great big duh. Men have been quietly sneaking out in the morning since Fred Flintstone.

Little Lamb
49305
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Little Lamb 04/08/14 - 02:06 pm
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Groucho

The man's thought process goes something like this — if this woman is willing to drink with me, then her standards for men must be really, really low.

Little Lamb
49305
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Little Lamb 04/08/14 - 10:09 am
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Insurance Mandate

From the story:

‘They’re party animals,” said Dr. Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. “They drink a lot more than mice. Also, when they are together they drink more. The amount of alcohol they drink is related to how much their partner drinks. They are social drinkers as well.”

As soon as the Georgia General Assembly passes the health insurance bill that mandates all insurance companies selling health insurance policies in Georgia include coverage for intensive psychiatric counseling of persons diagnosed with autism, Dr. Young will leave research at Emory and set up a counseling practice where he can make some real money off Harbincare.

corgimom
38787
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corgimom 04/08/14 - 07:09 pm
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LL, Larry Young holds a Ph.D,

LL, Larry Young holds a Ph.D, he is not a medical doctor and cannot provide psychiatric care for anybody, let alone children.

He can provide counseling if he is licensed to do so, but he may not even be licensed to do that.

corgimom
38787
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corgimom 04/08/14 - 07:11 pm
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However, it appears that no,

However, it appears that no, he is not licensed to provide counseling, but instead teaches and does research.

His undergrad degree was in biochemistry.

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