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Club drugs inflict damage similar to traumatic brain injury
Date:11/29/2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- What do suffering a traumatic brain injury and using club drugs have in common"

University of Florida researchers say both may trigger a similar chemical chain reaction in the brain, leading to cell death, memory loss and potentially irreversible brain damage.

A series of studies at UF over the past five years has shown using the popular club drug Ecstasy, also called MDMA, and other forms of methamphetamine lead to the same type of brain changes, cell loss and protein fluctuations in the brain that occur after a person endures a sharp blow to the head, according to findings a UF researcher presented at a Society for Neuroscience conference held in San Diego this month.

Using methamphetamine is like inflicting a traumatic brain injury on yourself, said Firas Kobeissy, a postdoctoral associate in the College of Medicine department of psychiatry. We found that a lot of brain cells are being injured by these drugs. Thats alarming to society now. People dont seem to take club drugs as seriously as drugs such as heroin or cocaine.

Working with UF researchers Dr. Mark Gold, chief of the division of addiction medicine at UFs McKnight Brain Institute and one of the countrys leading experts on addiction medicine, and Kevin Wang, director of the UF Center for Neuroproteomics and Biomarkers Research, Kobeissy compared what happened in the brains of rats given large doses of methamphetamine with what happened to those that had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

The groups research has already shown how traumatic brain injury affects brain cells in rats. They found similar damage in the rats exposed to methamphetamine. In the brain, club drugs set off a chain of events that injures brain cells. The drugs seem to damage certain proteins in the brain, which causes protein levels to fluctuate. When proteins are damaged, brain cells could die. In addition, as some proteins change under the influence of metham
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Contact: April Frawley Birdwell
afrawley@ufl.edu
352-273-5817
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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