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A link is found between morphine addiction and the tendency to explore

A team of researchers from the UAB has found experimental evidence in rats showing a link between addiction to morphine and the tendency to explore perseveringly. This is the first time a direct relationship has been found without other psychological characteristics, such as anxiousness, that might affect results. Published in Behavioural Brain Research, the results of this study are useful for planning preventative strategies in the risk population.

The tendency to use drugs depends on each individual person. Not all those who have access to drugs become addicts, therefore there may be personality characteristics that influence their use. One such characteristic is the pursuit of new sensations found in people that like looking for risk at all times. Although some studies have already suggested a link between these people and a higher probability of becoming drug addicts, shopaholics or gambling addicts, until now no study has objectively found a direct relationship without the influence of other psychological factors, such as anxiousness.

A team of researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience, the Department of Psychobiology and Health Sciences Methodology and the Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology, directed by Roser Nadal and Antonio Armario, has shown scientifically through experiments with rats that addiction to morphine is related to a tendency to explore perseveringly and to search for new sensations. Using mazes and cages, the scientists observed in their experiments that the animals with a greater tendency to explore are more inclined towards an addiction to morphine.

The researchers had classified the rodents according to whether they had a tendency to explore repeatedly a new situation (persevering explorers) or they became disinterested in the new situation within a short amount of time. This was done by placing them in a circular corridor they had never seen before and observing their behaviour. Only the
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Source:Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona


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