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Entries from March 2009

Nicotine Receptors In The Brain

March 29th, 2009 · No Comments

This molecular model shows nicotine (in center) binding to a brain receptor via a cation-À interaction. (Image Credit: Caltech/Dennis Dougherty) According to California Institute of Technology (Caltech) researchers, lead by Dennis Dougherty, Professor of Chemistry, there is a very small genetic difference between brain cells and muscle cells that alter the way that nicotine affects us.

The receptor nicotine binds to in the brain’s neurons–a type of acetylcholine receptor, which also binds the neurotransmitter acetylcholine–is found in large numbers in muscle cells. Were nicotine to bind with those cells, it would cause muscles to contract with such force that the response would likely prove lethal.

The cause of this difference in binding potency, says Dougherty, is a single point mutation that occurs in the receptor near the key tryptophan amino acid that makes the cation-A interaction. “This one mutation means that, in the brain, nicotine can cozy up to this one particular tryptophan much more closely than it can in muscle cells,” he explains. “And that is what allows the nicotine to make the strong cation-À interaction.”

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

Brain Awareness Week

March 21st, 2009 · No Comments

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) (March 16-22) is an international campaign dedicated to advancing public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Founded and coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and its sister organization, the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, BAW is now entering its fourteenth year as a catalyst for public understanding of brain science. The Dana Alliances are joined in the campaign by partners from around the world, including universities, hospitals, patient groups, government agencies, schools, service organizations, and professional associations.

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Tags: Main

Candy Cigarettes Predispose Children to Smoke

March 19th, 2009 · No Comments

Candy cigarettes predispose children who play with them to smoke the real things later.

Research by Jonathan Klein of the University of Rochester published in the journal Preventive Medicine in 2007 proved this was true.

“The continued existence of these products helps promote smoking as a culturally or socially acceptable activity,” Klein stated. The look-alikes made of candy or gum are marketing and advertising tools that desensitize kids and open them more so to the idea of smoking later on.

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Tags: News - Addiction and Alternative Health

Provigil Drug Danger

March 18th, 2009 · No Comments

Researchers led by Nora D. Volkow, MD, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), report evidence that Provigil (generic name, modafinil) might be more addictive than thought.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“There is an increasing use of this medication, and people have promoted the off-label use of stimulants and Provigil as cognitive enhancers with the belief that these drugs are safe”. “But these drugs have side effects, and their use without proper medical oversight could lead to abuse and addiction.”

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Tags: News - Addiction and Alternative Health

Marijuana and Dangerous Driving

March 15th, 2009 · No Comments

In a recent report in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, thrill-seeking young men in their 20’s are more likely to drive under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) and engage in reckless driving,

“We observed that dangerous driving behaviours are interrelated. Individuals scoring high on impulsivity or sensation-seeking scales demonstrated an elevated risk of driving under the influence of marijuana,” states senior author Jacques Bergeron, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Psychology.

The study also found that men with self-reported DUIC tend to be associated with an increased risk of being involved in a car accident.

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Tags: Marijuana Addiction

Methadone Danger

March 12th, 2009 · No Comments

For many years, methadone has been used in the treatment of opioid addiction. Taken orally, it suppresses withdrawal and reduces cravings.

In recent years, doctors have prescribed methadone more frequently as an effective treatment for acute, chronic and cancer pain. Use of the drug for pain treatment rose 1,300 percent between 1997 and 2006.

As more methadone was prescribed, however, adverse events increased by approximately 1,800 percent, and fatalities were up more than 400 percent (from 786 to 3,849) between the years 1999 and 2004.

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Tags: News - Addiction and Alternative Health