The latest news about addiction and substance abuse research
Two papers recently published in Biological Psychiatry now suggest that drugs that stimulate two different subclasses of PPARs may play roles in the treatment of nicotine and alcohol addiction by acting in the brain.
Young people who start smoking at an early age have a much higher risk of starting to use cannabis by the time they turn 17. Risk factors that increase the likelihood of starting to smoke include externalising problem behaviours such as impulsiveness. Smoking, in turn, is a significant risk factor for cannabis use. These results have been confirmed in a project researching smoking at an early age and externalising behaviour as predictors of drug use. The project has been funded by the Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Substance Use and Addictions.
A new study published in Journal of Research on Adolescence suggests that girls and boys experience this transition very differently. The findings show that girls tend to initiate the transition to a mixed-gender friendship network earlier than boys, and continue this transition at a faster pace during adolescence. As a result girls who experienced this transition early and fast were more likely to develop substance abuse problems during late adolescence.
Vanderbilt researchers are studying heavy users of marijuana to help understand what exercise does for the brain, contributing to a field of research that uses exercise as a modality for prevention and treatment.
A study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory demonstrated that drug addicted individuals who have a certain genetic makeup have lower gray matter density – and therefore fewer neurons – in areas of the brain that are essential for decision-making, self-control, and learning and memory.
According to a study conducted at the Department of Pedagogy of the University of Granada, about six out of ten male drug-abusers direct some type of violence against their intimate partners. Thus, the study revealed a high rate of domestic violence –both pysical and psychological– by male drug-abusers against women. The study also detailed the most recurrent forms of abuse, as well as the variables associated to them.
A brain imaging study at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals a subtle difference between ordinary obese subjects and those who compulsively overeat, or binge: In binge eaters but not ordinary obese subjects, the mere sight or smell of favorite foods triggers a spike in dopamine — a brain chemical linked to reward and motivation. The findings — published online on February 24, 2011, in the journal Obesity — suggest that this dopamine spike may play a role in triggering compulsive overeating.
People who demonstrated a stronger brain response to certain brain regions when receiving individually tailored smoking cessation messages were more likely to quit smoking four months after, a new study found.
A strong link between victimization experiences and substance abuse has been discovered by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are two to three times more likely than children without the disorder to develop serious substance abuse problems in adolescence and adulthood, according to a study by UCLA psychologists and colleagues at the University of South Carolina.
The growing numbers of new cases of substance abuse disorders are perplexing. After all, the course of drug addiction so often ends badly. The negative consequences of drug abuse appear regularly on TV, from stories of celebrities behaving in socially inappropriate and self-destructive ways while intoxicated to dramatization of the rigors of drug withdrawal on “Intervention” and other reality shows.
As many as ten to 20 per cent of nurses and nursing students may have substance abuse and addiction problems, but the key to tackling this difficult issue – and protecting public safety – is support and treatment, not punishment. That is the key message in a paper in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
A multinational research team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health has found that a genetic variant of a brain receptor molecule may contribute to violently impulsive behavior when people who carry it are under the influence of alcohol. A report of the findings, which include human genetic analyses and gene knockout studies in animals, appears in the Dec. 23 issue of Nature.
Babies born into the world addicted to drugs because of their mother’s dependence on pain medication, or opioids, may be weaned off the substance more comfortably, with a shorter hospital stay and at a reduced cost, if the mother receives a new treatment option during pregnancy.
A new study on gaming and health in adolescents, conducted by researchers at Yale School of Medicine, found some significant gender differences linked to gaming as well as important health risks associated with problematic gaming. Published today in the journal Pediatrics, the study is among the first and largest to examine possible health links to gaming and problematic gaming in a community sample of adolescents.