PROTEIN LINK TO ADDICTSÂ’ CRAVINGS

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Alfa, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Alfa

    Alfa Productive Insomniac Staff Member Administrator

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    PROTEIN LINK TO ADDICTS' CRAVINGS

    Scientists are paving the way for medicines that could help remove cravings
    in drug addicts and improve the education prospects of people with learning
    difficulties.

    They believe that similar molecular changes in the brain help cause cocaine
    addiction and impair learning and memory processes.

    Experiments in mice over the past six years suggest that the absence of a
    protein called PSD-95 is responsible for both conditions.

    Researchers at Edinburgh University, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at
    Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, and Duke University, North Carolina, report the
    "previously unappreciated" link in the journal Neuron.

    Work at Edinburgh had already suggested that removing the protein from mice
    severely limited their ability to learn, apparently because it interfered
    with the way brain synapses changed electrical activity in nerve cells into
    chemical activity.

    Work in the US exposing mice to cocaine reduced levels of the protein in
    parts of the brain linked to movement and emotional response.

    Drug addicts often have problems with memory and coordination, but
    scientists now believe they know why: they are suffering molecular brain
    damage.

    Seth Grant, professor of molecular neuroscience at Edinburgh, said: "The
    protein molecule is important in the type of learning to do with people,
    places and things, so cocaine strikes at the kinds of learning which would
    include, for example, studying for examinations." Addiction and learning
    were repetitive processes, he suggested.

    The research should make it possible to begin investigating drugs that
    might reverse the damage, said Prof Grant. They might help drug abusers and
    people with disorders such as schizophrenia and those with learning
    difficulties.

    But he advised caution in developing drugs to enhance the learning
    capabilities of healthy people by interfering with fundamental molecular
    mechanisms. "I would be very concerned that that might lead to psychiatric
    disorder," he said.
     
  2. BA

    BA Palladium Member

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    Now I lmow what my problem...........................I forgot what I wanted to say Damn!