Dopamine rush can come from beer, without the booze

Tiny quantities (15mL) of beer triggered significantly more dopamine activity on PET scan than taste of a sports drink, and this was more pronounced in participants with a family history of alcoholism, the study found.

This suggested the response to alcohol-related cues may be an inherited risk factor for alcoholism, the authors said.

Participants also had increased cravings after tasting beer, but not the sports drink, although many thought the latter tasted better.

Neuropyschopharmacol 2013; online 15