Navigation Links
Studies: Addiction starts with an overcorrection in the brain
Date:7/1/2014

The National Institutes of Health has turned to neuroscientists at the nation's most "Stone Cold Sober" university for help finding ways to treat drug and alcohol addiction.

Brigham Young University professor Scott Steffensen and his collaborators have published three new scientific papers that detail the brain mechanisms involved with addictive substances. And the NIH thinks Steffensen's on the right track, as evidenced by a $2-million grant that will help fund projects in his BYU lab for the next five years.

"Addiction is a brain disease that could be treated like any other disease," Steffensen said. "I wouldn't be as motivated to do this research, or as passionate about the work, if I didn't think a cure was possible."

Steffensen's research suggests that the process of a brain becoming addicted is similar to a driver overcorrecting a vehicle. When drugs and alcohol release unnaturally high levels of dopamine in the brain's pleasure system, oxidative stress occurs in the brain.

Steffensen and his collaborators have found that the brain responds by generating a protein called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). This correction suppresses the brain's normal production of dopamine long after someone comes down from a high. Not having enough dopamine is what causes the pains, distress and anxiety of withdrawal.

"The body attempts to compensate for unnatural levels of dopamine, but a pathological process occurs," Steffensen said. "We think it all centers around a subset of neurons that ordinarily put the brakes on dopamine release."

A group of undergraduate students work in Steffensen's lab along with post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. Jennifer Blanchard Mabey, a graduate student in neuroscience, co-authored a paper about withdrawal that is in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"It's rewarding to see that your research efforts place another small piece in the enormous addiction puzzle," said Mabey.

A separate study, co-authored by Steffensen and Ph.D. candidates Nathan Schilaty and David Hedges, explains how nicotine and alcohol interact in the brain.

"Addiction is a huge concern in our society and is very misunderstood," Schilaty said. "Our research is helping us to formulate ideas on how we can better help these individuals through non-invasive and non-pharmacological means."

Eun Young Jang, a post-doctoral fellow in Steffensen's lab, authored a third paper for Addiction Biology describing the effects of cocaine addiction on the brain's reward circuitry.

In these three research papers, dopamine is the common thread.

"I am optimistic that in the near future medical science will be able to reverse the brain changes in dopamine transmission that occur with drug dependence and return an 'addict' to a relatively normal state," Steffensen said. "Then the addict will be in a better position to make rational decisions regarding their behavior and will be empowered to remain drug free."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joe Hadfield
joe_hadfield@byu.edu
801-422-9206
Brigham Young University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Studies: Current hepatitis C treatments cant be used by more than half of patients; others lose opportunity for treatment
2. Studies: Motor control development continues longer than previously believed
3. The biology of addiction risk looks like addiction
4. Cocaine addiction: Phase-specific biology and treatment?
5. Does food addiction exist?
6. Researchers recast addiction as a manageable disease
7. Opioid overdose prevention programs may reduce deaths, reports Journal of Addiction Medicine
8. Most emergency department super-frequent users have a substance abuse addiction
9. Study of third hand nicotine from e-cigarette exposure wins NIH Addiction Science Award
10. Researchers ID changes that may occur in neural circuits due to cocaine addiction
11. Mount Sinai researchers identify changes that may occur in neural circuits due to addiction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2016)... KS (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com ... leader in Mole removal products. , Moles are derived from a cluster of melanin ... in all the wrong places and create a lifetime of embarrassment. Historically, mole ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Guruji Mahendra Kumar Trivedi is offering 3 ... in honor of his birthday on February 10th. During this time, people can ... known by over 250,000 people from over 40 different countries as an “ordinary man ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... According to ... the U.S. require dental technicians to be certified or obtain continuing education. To ... created the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to inform dentists and patients about ...
(Date:2/7/2016)... Clarkston, Metamora, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... February 07, 2016 , ... ... in recognition of National Wear Red Day. National Wear Red Day is the ... stroke in women. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women ...
(Date:2/7/2016)... ... February 07, 2016 , ... Dr. Todd Hobgood ... his medical and surgical expertise. Technically known as deoxycholic acid or previously as ... a non-surgical alternative for reduction of fat below the chin (aka the “double ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... LONDON , Feb.8, 2016 Aesthetic Devices ... GlobalData,s Medical Devices sector report, "Aesthetic Devices - Medical ... Devices currently in pipeline stage. This ... secondary and primary research by GlobalData,s team of industry ... be removed or altered based on the availability and ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Feb. 8, 2016 CBG ... the PW Series Solvent Recycling Systems, specifically designed ... full integration with new and existing vapor degreasers, ... produces consistently-fresh solvent through continuous recycling and recovers ... --> --> Precision parts ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... 8, 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ... fourth quarter and year-end 2015 results after the Nasdaq ... then host a live conference call and webcast to ... Thursday afternoon, February 11, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern ... --> http://www.neurocrine.com . --> Participants ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: