Alcoholics' Cure? 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week

Including an explanation of why your cat could take you or leave you
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2015 5:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – A possible breakthrough on the alcohol abuse front and "green" coffee make the list:

  • Could This Discovery End Alcoholism?: Texas A&M scientists say a cure for alcoholism could be on the horizon thanks to new brain research. It centers on a dopamine receptor that, once activated by alcohol, makes you want to drink more. What happened when mice were given a drug to block that receptor shows promise for treating the disease.
  • How Your Coffee Grounds Can Help the World: As if coffee isn't amazing enough already, researchers have figured out a quick way to convert spent coffee grounds into a material that traps the greenhouse gas methane. That in itself is promising, but scientists say another facet of the discovery makes it a double win for the environment.
  • Why Your Cat May Not Care When You Leave: Does our affection for cats move in just one direction? New research suggests that domesticated cats are more independent than dogs because they have less "secure attachment" to their owners. Owners who think they spot separation anxiety may be seeing this instead.

  • Pill Shows Amazing Promise on HIV: Insurer Kaiser Permanente says that over a 32-month period, not a single one of its clients taking a daily pill called Truvada contracted HIV. The study proved so effective that scientists had to switch gears in how they were treating the placebo group.
  • Study of Rare Brain Disease Yields Huge Find: Multiple system atrophy, or MSA, is a horrible disease that will destroy your brain and inevitably kill you, and the study of it has now yielded a major breakthrough. Researchers have discovered it's caused by a deformed protein called a prion, which is responsible for mad cow disease and similar ailments. It's the first such discovery in 50 years, and it could have big implications in our understanding of diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Click to read about more discoveries. including melt-resistant ice cream. (Read more discoveries stories.)

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