Article: Happy rats give a clue to drug addiction

Discussion in 'General Addiction discussion' started by ~lostgurl~, May 12, 2007.

  1. ~lostgurl~

    ~lostgurl~ Platinum Member & Advisor Donating Member

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    Dec 23, 2004
    from Australia
    Happy rats give a clue to drug addiction

    27 April 2007
    NZ Herald


    Rats are helping scientists to understand the mechanisms of drug addiction. A surprise finding in rats has given scientists a clue to understanding drug addiction in people. A single dose of morphine was found to lower the rats' inhibitions, even after the drug left their systems.

    The painkiller blocked the brain's ability to strengthen connections, or synapses, that reduce reward or pleasure, researchers from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, reported in the journal Nature. "What we have found is that the inhibitory synapses can no longer be strengthened 24 hours after treatment with morphine, which suggests that a natural brake has been removed," said Julie Kauer, a professor of molecular pharmacology, physiology and biotechnology at Brown.

    She said the finding added to growing evidence of a link between learning and addiction and may help in developing drugs to treat addiction.
    By shutting off the natural ability to strengthen connections that inhibit pleasure, the brain may be learning to crave drugs.

    Professor Kauer said the brain had two kinds of neurons - those that excited nerve connections and those that inhibited or depressed them.
    "If inhibition is reduced, you get runaway excitability," she said.

  2. Nicaine

    Nicaine Titanium Member

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    Jul 12, 2004
    from Rhode Island, U.S.A.
    The press is in love with the notion of using drugs to treat addiction, and it seems many scientists, professors and academic types are too. It's an interesting idea, but there's a puzzling disconnect here. Who would take these anti-drug-drugs?

    AA/NA members would likely stick to their program (most treatment centers are heavily oriented toward 12-step groups, and many would be against the idea of using drugs to treat drug problems). Addicts who didn't want to quit would not be interested, of course.

    One clue might be whatever market currently exists for Antabuse. SWIM's knowledge here is out of date, but he does not think it has ever been popular. Perhaps a small percentage of court-ordered people given a choice between this or traditional treatment? Except court-ordered addicts usually don't really want to quit, so why would they choose the more effective option?

    Unless the mere presence of effective anti-addiction drugs was enough to alter the current system in major ways (seems doubtful), SWIM sees no target market, or at best a very small one. Of course, there's no harm in learning more about the the brain and addiction. Perhaps it results in a flood of much better targeted and more effective designer drugs, which would be an interesting irony.
    Last edited: May 12, 2007
  3. Heretic.Ape.

    Heretic.Ape. Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Apr 17, 2007
    from U.S.A.
    The next interesting thing will be seeing if some clever swimmers will find some way to use anti-addiction drugs for more enjoyable puproses :cool: