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Highlights of the Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting
Date:2/6/2012

ial products, and, in Karenia's case, toxins. When properly stimulated, these cells released their cargo by a process known as exocytosis. The researchers discovered that phytoplankton release their toxin-loaded gels when exposed to sunlight, particularly the blue portion of the spectrum. These observations support the notion that Karenia brevis functions as a typical secretory cell, which the researchers believe opens the way for a better understanding of red tide bloom dynamics.

Presentation 1624-Pos, "Exocytic mechanisms of storage and release of brevotoxin in the dinoflagellate Karenia brevis," is at 1:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27.

New Street Drug 'Bath Salts' Packs Double Punch: Mimicking effects of two powerful narcotics: The street drug commonly referred to as "bath salts" is one of a growing list of synthetic and unevenly regulated narcotics that are found across the United States and on the Internet. New research on this potent drug paints an alarming picture, revealing that bath salts pack a powerful double punch, producing combined effects similar to both methamphetamine (METH) and cocaine. "This combination of effects is particularly novel and unexpected," says Louis J. De Felice of Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Medicine in Richmond. "Methamphetamine and cocaine operate in the brain in completely opposite ways. It would be atypical that both drugs would be taken together, but that's the effect that occurs with bath salts." The team's research reveals that bath salts contain two structurally similar chemicals that produce quite dissimilar effects on the brain's dopamine transport system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the brain's pleasure and reward centers. Though bath salts' chemicals are structurally similar, both acting as potent psycho-stimulants, they use completely opposite mechanisms in the brain. The surprising finding is that rather than canceling each other out, as would be anticipa
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Contact: Ellen Weiss
eweiss@biophysics.org
240-290-5606
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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