Archive for May, 2015

Drugs That Influence Genetic Switches Could Address Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction has always been a difficult issue to address, but a recent study sheds light on a possible relationship between genetic makeup and the use of epigenetic drugs to stop cocaine addiction.

cocaineA joint study by the McGill University and Bar Ilan University investigated the effect of using epigenetic drugs to stop addiction to cocaine. The research team conducted lab experiments on mice, which were trained to crave for cocaine using a visual or auditory cue. The rats were then observed for evidence of cocaine withdrawal for up to 30 days. Results showed that changes in the mice’s genetic switches were at their highest as the withdrawal became longer.

The researchers injected RG108, an inhibiting agent for DNA methylation, to the mice during the lengthy withdrawal just before the triggering light or sound could cause them to crave for cocaine. “We discovered that injecting the drug RG108 just before the animals were exposed to the light cue after the long withdrawal not only stopped the addictive behavior of the animals, it also lasted for a longer period. This suggests that a single treatment with RG108 could reverse or perhaps cure drug addiction,” said study co-author Moshe Szyf in a news report.

The effect of the epigenetic drug was most evident during the withdrawal phase, according to co-author Gal Yadid. “During this period of withdrawal, hundreds of genes changed their state of DNA methylation including genes that were known before to be involved in addiction,” Yadid added.

Details of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Fun Educational Video Shows How Adderall Works

A light but highly informative video released by the American Chemical Society (ACS) discussed the famous study drug Adderall and how it works to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and loss of concentration.

Highlights of the video posted in the ACS YouTube channel “Reactions” are as follows:

  • More than 25 million people in the U.S. are using amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall.
  • The drug was first released in the market in 1933 under the name “benzedrine”.
  • Military troops across many countries have used amphetamine to boost morale and concentration of personnel. Hitler was even rumored to have taken daily shots of the drug!
  • Adderall is a study drug that stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the level of dopamine (or the reward hormone) in the body.
  • Amphetamine is the safer and much more useful cousin of methamphetamine, or meth for short.

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