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Jonesing for java: Could caffeine use predict risk for cocaine abuse?
Date:10/7/2011

Parents of young caffeine consumers take heed: that high-calorie energy drink or soda might present more than just obesity risk. In fact, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that examined responses to stimulants, an individual's subjective response to caffeine may predict how he or she will respond to other stimulant drugs, possibly reflecting differences in risk for abuse of other more serious drugs of abuse, such as amphetamine and cocaine.

The new findings are reported in the November issue of the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence by Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, a drug abuse researcher whose previous studies have looked at caffeine withdrawal and interactions between psychomotor stimulants and cigarette smoking.

"People differ dramatically in how they respond to drugs," says Sigmon. "For example, a single dose of a drug can produce completely opposite effects in two people, with one absolutely loving and the other hating the drug's effects. It is important to improve our understanding of these differences, as they may reflect key individual differences in vulnerability or resilience for drug abuse," adds Sigmon, who, with colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, examined how individual differences in response to caffeine might predict a person's subsequent response to d-amphetamine, a classic psychomotor stimulant with similar effects to other commonly-abused stimulants like cocaine.

Sigmon and coauthor Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, first employed a choice procedure (Phase 1) to identify participants as caffeine "Choosers" and "Nonchoosers" for the study. Choosers were those who chose caffeine over placebo in the majority (>/= 7) of 10 choice session and Nonchoosers chose placebo over caffeine in the majority of choice sessions. There
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Contact: Jennifer Nachbur
jennifer.nachbur@uvm.edu
802-338-8316
University of Vermont
Source:Eurekalert

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