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Chantix may also help curb alcohol addiction

The popular stop-smoking drug Chantix may also help treat alcohol addiction, a new study suggests.

The study involved 200 people who reported drinking at least four to five drinks per day. Half of the participants were given Chantix to take every day for 13 weeks, while the other half were given a placebo.

Those who took Chantix had reduced alcohol cravings and drank an average of 22 percent less each week compared to those who were given a placebo, the study found.

Chantix was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2006 to help people stop smoking. The drug works by suppressing the release of hormone receptors that are involved in both smoking and alcohol addiction.

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BOTTOM LINE: The popular stop-smoking drug Chantix may also help treat alcohol addiction.

CAUTIONS: Chantix is not cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration to treat alcohol dependence. The study period was too short to determine whether the participants who took Chantix were able to sustain lower drinking levels.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of Addiction Medicine, June issue

Study finds that mood influences taste buds for depressed people

Some people with symptoms of mild depression may find that high and low fat foods taste the same depending on their mood, according to a new study by researchers in Germany.

Researchers at the University of Wurzburg screened 80 study participants for their level of depression. They were then shown video clips of happy, sad, and neutral scenes from movies to manipulate their mood. Before and after watching the clips, they tasted a series of liquids and recorded the intensity of flavor. They also tasted milk and were asked to estimate its fat content.

Those who had symptoms of mild depression could distinguish the fat content between the milk samples before watching the clips but were unable to tell the difference after they watched a happy or sad movie clip. Those participants also reported more intense bitter and sweet tastes in the liquid samples after they watched the happy and sad movie clips.

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The findings may offer one reason why some with depression tend to have unhealthy eating patterns and unconsciously eat high-fat foods, the study authors wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Some people with symptoms of mild depression may find that high- and low-fat foods taste the same depending on their mood.

CAUTIONS: The findings do not suggest a cause and effect relationship between mood and high-fat food consumption.

WHERE TO FIND IT: PLOS ONE, June 5