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New therapy could help combat drug addiction

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Researchers have developed a treatment that may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use. When tested on rats, the new treatment was effective in reducing the animals’ cravings, according to the findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. When someone habitually misuses drugs, their brain chemistry is changed in ways that make it harder for them to quit taking drugs despite negative consequences. Once someone has developed this brain disorder, their mind pays sharper attention to cues that encourage drug use, making it harder for them to abstain.

Serotonin, a brain chemical that transmits information between neural regions, is a key player in these changes. The researchers found that the serotonin 2C receptors in drug addicts do not work as well as they should. The team led by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the US designed, synthesised and pharmacologically evaluated a series of small molecule therapeutics designed to restore the weakened signalling.

The findings showed that the novel therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use. In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues.

Once the rats learned this cocaine-seeking behaviour, half of them received the most promising therapeutic and the other half received only saline. The findings showed that the animals treated with the new therapeutic pressed the lever for cocaine far fewer times than the saline-treated control animals, even when reinforced with the cocaine-associated light cues.

“We are the first to show that a serotonin 2C receptor therapeutic of this type can be successfully used to decrease drug-seeking behaviours,” said Kathryn Cunningham, Director of Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

“Our findings are especially exciting because in addition to someday helping people to recover from drug addiction, impaired functioning of the serotonin 2C receptor is also thought to contribute to other chronic health issues such as depression, impulsivity disorders, obesity and schizophrenia,” Cunningham added.

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Smoking pot before 15 may up drug problem risk later

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If boys start smoking pot in early teenage life, they may be at a higher risk of developing drug problem as a young adult, a new study has said.

The findings, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, suggested that boys who start smoking pot before the age of 15 are much more likely to have a drug problem at 28 than those who start at 15 or after.

According to the researchers, in these teens, the risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 is 68 per cent. But if they start smoking between 15 and 17 the risk drops to 44 per cent.

“The odds of developing any drug abuse symptoms by age 28 were non-significant if cannabis use had its onset at ages 15 to 17, but were significant and almost doubled each year if onset was before age 15,” the researchers, including Charlie Rioux from Universite de Montreal, said.

For the study, the researchers recruited 1,030 boys. Every year between ages 13 and 17, they were asked if they had consumed cannabis at all in the previous year.

At the age of 17, 20 and 28, the boys were again asked if they consumed cannabis as well as other drugs, including hallucinogens, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilisers, heroin and inhalants.

The data were then correlated with the age at which they started using cannabis, the researcher said.

The results confirmed that the younger boys started smoking marijuana, the more likely they had a drug problem later as young men.

Even if those who start smoking cannabis at 17 years were at lower risk, frequent users — 20 or more times a year — at age 17 had almost double the chance of abuse by age 28 than occasional users.

“Since peer influence and delinquency were identified as early risk factors for earlier cannabis onset and adult drug abuse, targeting these risk factors in prevention programmes may be important, especially since prevention strategies working on the motivators of substance use have been shown to be effective,” Rioux noted.

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किशोरवयात धूम्रपान करणारी मुले ड्रग्जच्या आहारी

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अगदी लहान वयात धूम्रपान करणारी मुले नंतर ड्रग्जच्या आहारी जात असल्याचे नुकत्याच करण्यात आलेल्या संशोधनात स्पष्ट झाले आहे.

कॅनडातील डी मॉन्ट्रियल विद्यापीठातील संशोधकांनी प्राथमिक शाळेतील विद्यार्थ्यांना ड्रग्जच्या धोक्याची माहिती करून देणे गरजेचे असल्याचे स्पष्ट केले. लहानपणी सुरू केलेल्या धूम्रपानाचा पुढे किती मोठा धोका निर्माण होतो याची माहिती मुलांना देण्याची गरज असल्याचेही संशोधक सांगतात. सध्या अनेक देशांत उघडपणे व्यसन केले जाते आणि समाजानेही त्याला मान्यता दिली आहे. मात्र त्याचा परिणाम घातक आहे, असेही संशोधकांनी सांगितले.१५ ते १७ या वयादरम्यान धूम्रपान सुरू केलेल्या मुलांमध्ये ड्रग्जकडे वळण्याचे प्रमाण ४४ टक्के इतके आहे.

१५ पेक्षाही कमी वयात धूम्रपान सुरू करणाऱ्यांमध्ये हे प्रमाण ६८ टक्के आहे. हे संशोधन कॅनेडियन जनरल ऑफ सायकेट्री या मासिकात प्रसिद्ध झाले आहे. या संदर्भात संशोधकांनी १०३० मुलांचा अभ्यास केला. १३ ते १७ वयोगटातील मुले गेल्या काही वर्षांपासून गांज्याच्या आहारी केल्याचे समजले. तर २० ते २८ वयोगटातील मुले गांजा, ड्रग्ज, कोकेन, हेरॉइन यांच्या आहारी गेल्याचीही धक्कादायक माहिती संशोधकांना मिळाली. आता या मुलांनी कधीपासून व्यसन सुरू केले याचा शोध संशोधकांनी घेण्यास सुरुवात केली. तर ही सर्व मुले अगदी लहानपणापासूनच व्यसनांच्या आहारी गेल्याची माहिती मिळाली. त्यानंतर ही मुले ड्रग्जपर्यंत पोहोचल्याचे स्पष्ट झाले.

Dr. Nitin B. Bhise
Dr. Nitin B. Bhise
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda, 21 yrs, Pune
Dr. Supriya Jagtap
Dr. Supriya Jagtap
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Dr. Neha Sawant
Dr. Neha Sawant
BPTh, Orthopedic Physiotherapist Physiotherapist, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Harshad Danwale
Dr. Harshad Danwale
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Dr. Rashmi Mathur
Dr. Rashmi Mathur
BPTh, Physiotherapist Homecare Physiotherapist, 5 yrs, Pune
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