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:6/25/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... Republicans in the United States Senate on Thursday released ... Care Reconciliation Act. It differs significantly from the American Health Care Act, which the ... committee, or the House will have to take up the Senate version as-is, if ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... , ... June 24, 2017 , ... ... offering genetic testing for medications in select Florida and Texas doctors' offices and ... , This new application of genetic testing recognizes the role genes play in ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... The Rhode Island Quality Institute ... Alerts and Dashboards, an innovative new service enabling healthcare providers to proactively coordinate ... Alerts and Dashboards provide near real-time data about patients admitted to and/or discharged ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... The Military ... president's nominee for deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs, retired Marine Col. Thomas G. Bowman. ... Affairs. , Bowman brings an intimacy with the issues and challenges veterans ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... , ... The Aesthetic Channel has recently highlighted Dr. Ben Talei’s unique approach ... proprietary technique that he calls the AuraLyft Facelift. The AuraLyft does more ... can expect to look refreshed, rejuvenated, and revitalized. , Dr. Talei’s unique approach ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 14, 2017 The Bio ... City of Fremont and the ... the bio-pharma industry in California ... enabling executive networking, and fostering workforce development. The primary ... and growth of start-ups, as well as small and ...
(Date:6/12/2017)... 12, 2017 Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company focused ... Vice President of R&D and Head of Virology Kristin ... Preparedness for the Northwest and Beyond meeting sponsored by ... 14, 2017 from 8:30-10:30 AM PDT at the Agora Conference ... Dr. Bedard will be joined by other leaders in ...
(Date:6/9/2017)... PALO ALTO, Calif. , June 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... medical device company focused on the design, manufacture, sale ... updated the market on the progress of its commercial ... AeroForm is now available in more than one hundred ... country. AeroForm offers a needle-free alternative ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: