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Browsing: Psychopharmacology

The latest news about psychopharmacology and drug research

Psychopharmacology

Uncovering the neurobiological basis of general anesthesia

The use of general anesthesia is a routine part of surgical operations at hospitals and medical facilities around the world, but the precise biological mechanisms that underlie anesthetic drugs’ effects on the brain and the body are only beginning to be understood. A review article in the December 30 New England Journal of Medicine brings together for the first time information from a range of disciplines, including neuroscience and sleep medicine, to lay the groundwork for more comprehensive investigations of processes underlying general anesthesia.

Psychopharmacology

Serotonin uses specialized signaling pathway distinct from pathways used by N-methyltryptamines

Scripps Research Institute scientists have shown for the first time that the neurotransmitter serotonin uses a specialized signaling pathway to mediate biological functions that are distinct from the signaling pathways used by hallucinogenic substances. The new findings could have a profound effect on the development of new therapies for a number of disorders, including schizophrenia and depression.

Psychopharmacology

Just two drinks slow reactions in older people

Blood alcohol levels below the current legal limit for driving have a significant negative effect on a person’s dexterity. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Research Notes found that just two single vodka and orange drinks were enough to make senior volunteers struggle at an obstacle avoidance test while walking.

Psychopharmacology

Oxytocin makes people trusting, but not gullible

Oxytocin (OT) is a hormone that plays an important role in social behavior—it has even been nicknamed “the love hormone” and “liquid trust.” Increased levels of OT have been associated with greater caring, generosity, and trust. But does OT increase people’s trust in just anybody or does it act more selectively?

Psychopharmacology

Body clock drugs could ease psychiatric disorders and jet lag

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have successfully used a drug to reset and restart the natural 24 hour body clock of mice in the lab. The ability to do this in a mammal opens up the possibility of dealing with a range of human difficulties including some psychiatric disorders, jet lag and the health impacts of shift work.

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