Mmm! Taste of beer triggers good feelings in the brain

The taste of beer, without its alcoholic effects, may be enough to trigger  the release of the pleasure chemical dopamine in the brain, a study finds.

To see how the taste of beer affects the brain,  researchers gave a group of men tiny tastes of beer, and as the men sipped the  beer, the researchers scanned the men’s brains. After a taste of beer, the men’s  brains showed a notable release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with  the pleasurable experience of consuming alcohol and other drugs. The effect was  even greater among men who had a family history of alcoholism.

The findings are not surprising, scientists say, but having a way to assess  predisposition to alcohol abuse could be useful.

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