Friday November 16, 2018

New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction

In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues

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New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction
New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction. Pixabay
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Researchers have developed a treatment that may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use.

When tested on rats, the new treatment was effective in reducing the animals’ cravings, according to the findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

When someone habitually misuses drugs, their brain chemistry is changed in ways that make it harder for them to quit taking drugs despite negative consequences.

Once someone has developed this brain disorder, their mind pays sharper attention to cues that encourage drug use, making it harder for them to abstain.

Serotonin, a brain chemical that transmits information between neural regions, is a key player in these changes.

The researchers found that the serotonin 2C receptors in drug addicts do not work as well as they should.

drugs
Representational image. Pixabay

The team led by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the US designed, synthesised and pharmacologically evaluated a series of small molecule therapeutics designed to restore the weakened signalling.

The findings showed that the novel therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use.

In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues.

Once the rats learned this cocaine-seeking behaviour, half of them received the most promising therapeutic and the other half received only saline.

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The findings showed that the animals treated with the new therapeutic pressed the lever for cocaine far fewer times than the saline-treated control animals, even when reinforced with the cocaine-associated light cues.

“We are the first to show that a serotonin 2C receptor therapeutic of this type can be successfully used to decrease drug-seeking behaviours,” said Kathryn Cunningham, Director of Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

“Our findings are especially exciting because in addition to someday helping people to recover from drug addiction, impaired functioning of the serotonin 2C receptor is also thought to contribute to other chronic health issues such as depression, impulsivity disorders, obesity and schizophrenia,” Cunningham added. (IANS)

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Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar as Drug Addiction

Understanding whether withdrawal may also occur with highly processed foods was an essential next step in evaluating the validity of food addiction

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Cholesterol -- a molecule normally linked with cardiovascular diseases -- may also play an important role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found.
Junk Food is highly rich in Cholesterol, pixabay

If you are planning to deprive your taste buds of junk food such as pastries, french fries and pizza, expect to suffer withdrawal symptoms similar to what drugs addicts experience, said a study.

The study led by researchers from the University of Michigan (U-M), found that reduced amount of highly processed foods led to sadness, irritability, tiredness and cravings.

The effects peaked, especially during the initial two to five days after they quit eating junk food, then the negative side effects tapered off, which parallels the time course of drug withdrawal symptoms, the researchers said.

The study implications suggest that withdrawal symptoms may challenge first-week dietary interventions, which may contribute to people reverting back to bad eating habits, said Ashley Gearhardt, assistant professor at the U-M.

Junk food
Quitting junk food cause withdrawals as drug addiction: Study. Pixabay

In the study appearing in the journal Appetite, the team included 231 adults to report what happened when they reduced the amount of highly processed foods they ate in the past year.

Previous studies have focused on sugar withdrawal among animals, or the literature regarding humans offered only anecdotal evidence, said Erica Schulte, doctoral student at the U-M.

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What all researchers can agree upon is that the addictive qualities of tobacco, drugs or alcohol affect the brain similarly and cutting back can lead to negative side effects. Anxiety, headaches, irritability and depression are some of those outcomes.

Understanding whether withdrawal may also occur with highly processed foods was an essential next step in evaluating the validity of food addiction, Schulte said. (IANS)