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NEWSWEEK Cover: The Hunt for an Addiction Vaccine
Date:2/24/2008

Emerging Treatments for Addiction are Treating the Disease as Chronic,

Relapsing Brain Disorder Advances Made in Understanding Biology of Addiction 'and That is Finally

Starting to Push the Thinking From 'Moral Failing,' to 'Legitimate

Illness,' Says Addiction Expert

NEW YORK, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Although the American Medical Association recognized addiction as a disease back in 1956, only now are we beginning to see treatments that target the underlying biochemistry of that disease, Newsweek reports in the March 3 cover, "The Hunt for an Addiction Vaccine" (on newsstands Monday February 25). Health Reporter Jeneen Interlandi reports that this emerging paradigm treats addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder to be managed with all the tools at medicine's disposal. The addict's brain is malfunctioning, as surely as the pancreas in someone with diabetes. In both cases, "lifestyle choices" may be contributing factors, but no one regards that as a reason to withhold insulin from a diabetic. "We are making unprecedented advances in understanding the biology of addiction," says David Rosenblum, a public-health professor and addiction expert at Boston University. "And that is finally starting to push the thinking from 'moral failing' to 'legitimate illness'."

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080224/NYSU004 )

Interlandi examines the science that is helping to understand how the addicted brain functions and the compounds being developed or tested by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that block the intoxicating effects of drugs, including vaccines that train the body's own immune system to bar them from the brain. To the extent that "willpower" is a meaningful concept at all, the era of willpower-in-a-pill may be just over the horizon. "The future is clear," says Nora Volkow,
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SOURCE Newsweek
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