Chapter 4. The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology

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Lying inside a scanner, the patient watched as pictures appeared one by one: A bicycle. A cupcake. Heroin. Outside, researchers tracked her brain's reactions to the surprise sight of the drug she'd fought to kick. U.S. government scientists are starting to peek into the brains of people caught in the opioid epidemic, to see if medicines proven to treat addiction, like methadone, do more than ease the cravings and withdrawal. Do they also heal a brain damaged by addiction? And which one works best for which patient? They're fundamental questions considering that far too few of the 2 million opioid users who need anti-addiction medicine actually receive it. One reason: "People say you're just changing one drug for another," said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, who is leading that first-of-its-kind study. "The brain responds differently to these medications than to heroin. It's not the same." Science has made clear that three medicines — methadone, buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone — can effectively treat what specialists prefer to call opioid use disorder. Patients who stick with methadone or buprenorphine in particular cut their chances of death in half, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine that explored how to overcome barriers to that care. Opioid addiction changes the brain in ways that even when people quit can leave them vulnerable to relapse, changes that researchers believe lessen with long-term abstinence. ©2019 CBC/Radio-Canada.

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26407 - Posted: 07.11.2019

By Meghana Keshavan, Christian Angermayer is an unlikely proselyte of psychedelia: The German financier didn’t drink so much as a sip of beer for the first three decades of his life. But five years ago, after careful consideration (and the encouragement of a personal physician), Angermayer boarded a yacht with a handful of his closest friends. They sailed into the crystalline, tropical waters of a jurisdiction in which such substances are legal (he is very emphatic on this point), and had his very first psychedelic trip. His entire worldview was changed. “It was the single most meaningful thing I’ve ever done or experienced in my life,” said Angermayer, 40. “Nothing has ever come close to it.” The first thing Angermayer did after the experience was call his parents and tell them, with a newfound conviction, that he loved them. Then, being a consummate entrepreneur, he quickly identified a business opportunity: He would commercialize psychedelics. Today, with a net worth of roughly $400 million accrued through various enterprises, Angermayer is one of the driving forces behind the movement to turn long-shunned psychoactive substances, like the psilocybin derived from so-called magic mushrooms, into approved medications for depression and other mental illnesses. Though he still resolutely won’t touch even a drop of alcohol, he has banded together a team of like-minded entrepreneurs—including Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel—to invest in a handful of startups focused on developing psychedelics. © 2019 Scientific American,

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Depression
Link ID: 26403 - Posted: 07.10.2019

By Lacy Schley We all know smoking is bad for your health. But it seems smoking might be bad for your personality, too. A recent paper published in the Journal of Research In Personality reports that, compared to people who didn’t smoke, cigarette smokers were more likely to report not-so-great changes in certain aspects of their personalities. What’s more, giving up smoking didn’t help reverse those changes. Smoking: Through the Years The paper outlines a series of five different long-term studies — four in the U.S. and one in Japan — that collectively surveyed about 15,500 people. Experts at a handful of different universities started the projects to track a whole host of things over time, like physical and mental health, relationships, behavior, etc. But for the purposes of this paper, the authors were only interested in the link between personality and smoking. In each of the different studies, participants, who ranged in age from 20 to 92 years old, filled out a questionnaire that asked them about their smoking habits. The surveys included questions meant to assess where the participants fell on a spectrum of five personality traits, often called the Big Five: openness, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. Then, anywhere from four to 18 years later (depending on the studies), the same participants filled out the same survey again. Researchers flagged those who had quit smoking since their first survey and put them into their own “smoking cessation” group.

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26394 - Posted: 07.08.2019

By Courtenay Harris Bond Before I started ketamine infusions this spring, I was milling around my house, unhinged, ducking into my bedroom to weep behind the closed door whenever my three young children were occupied. I felt like an actor playing a wife and mother. I had been having trouble concentrating on anything for several months, including my work as a journalist. Unable to read a book or watch a crime thriller — diversions I usually love and use to unwind — and in a torturous limbo with no plan, I felt hopeless, full of self-loathing, even suicidal. The only thing keeping me from hurting myself was the thought of what that would do to my family. Globally, nearly 800,000 people die by suicide each year, according to the World Health Organization, which also reports that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Approximately 10 to 30 percent of those with major depressive disorder have treatment-resistant depression, typically defined as a failure to respond to at least two different treatments. I have treatment-resistant depression, as well as generalized anxiety disorder. Throughout my life, I have been on a quest to conquer these formidable demons. I am 48 and have been in therapy off and on — mostly on — since the fourth grade. I have tried approximately 14 different antidepressants, but they either haven’t worked, or they’ve caused insufferable side effects. I have done a full course of transcranial magnetic stimulation, during which magnetic fields were applied to my scalp at specific points that affect depression and anxiety. And I recently tried Nardil, a first-generation antidepressant that requires a special diet. I was dizzy at times with blurred vision and felt overwhelming fatigue to the point where I feared I might fall asleep while driving. Copyright 2019 Undark

Keyword: Depression; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26391 - Posted: 07.05.2019

Millions of people in the UK are putting their sight at risk by continuing to smoke, warn specialists. Despite the clear connection, only one in five people recognise that smoking can lead to blindness, a poll for the Association of Optometrists (AOP) finds. Smokers are twice as likely to lose their sight compared with non-smokers, says the RNIB. That is because tobacco smoke can cause and worsen a number of eye conditions. How smoking can harm your eyes Cigarette smoke contains toxic chemicals that can irritate and harm the eyes. For example, heavy metals, such as lead and copper, can collect in the lens - the transparent bit that sits behind the pupil and brings rays of light into focus - and lead to cataracts, where the lens becomes cloudy. Smoking can make diabetes-related sight problems worse by damaging blood vessels at the back of the eye (the retina). Smokers are around three times more likely to get age-related macular degeneration - a condition affecting a person's central vision, meaning that they lose their ability to see fine details. And they are 16 times more likely than non-smokers to develop sudden loss of vision caused by optic neuropathy, where the blood supply to the eye becomes blocked. In the poll of 2,006 adults, 18% correctly said that smoking increased the risk of blindness or sight loss, while three-quarters (76%) knew smoking was linked to cancer. © 2019 BBC

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Vision
Link ID: 26375 - Posted: 07.02.2019

Mike Power Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentleman, and gather around. Do you, your loved one – or family pet – suffer from any of the following conditions? Cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, anxiety, menstrual cramps, insomnia, dry skin, psychosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, anger, depression, ADHD, Crohn’s and IBS, PTSD, opiate addiction, Parkinson’s, pain of any kind, migraine, or canine uptightness? Then it’s your lucky day. All can be treated, claim the snake oil salesmen of the modern wild west, with the miracle cure-all: CBD, or cannabidiol. It’s one of the 119 cannabinoids contained in cannabis sativa, indica and ruderalis, and all hybrids thereof; aka weed. CBD is legal and doesn’t get you high – still-illegal cannabinoid THC does that job very efficiently – but it’s fair to say business is blazing. What a giddy array of products there are: from CBD water (sold in clear bottles that mean the sensitive compound swiftly degrades), to cooking or massage oils, pills, chewing gum, transdermal patches, pessaries, gin, beer and lube. The crown for silliest CBD product of the year, however, belongs indisputably to the CBD-infused pillowcases sold by one hopeful firm of US fabric-makers. Yoga classes offering CBD-assisted asanas and guided meditation have sprung up, with devotees claiming greater flexibility and elevated mood. Sellers in the UK are careful not to claim any specific medical benefits for the products because of a lack of clinical evidence, so they are instead marketed as food supplements. In this, they are supported by breathless, uncritical media reports on CBD use for airily unspecified “wellbeing” purposes. © 2019 Guardian News & Media Limited

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Sleep
Link ID: 26369 - Posted: 07.01.2019

Allison Aubrey At 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, people are starting to pack into a popular bar called Harvard & Stone in a hip Los Angeles neighborhood. The chatter gets louder as the booze begins to flow. In the far corner, about a dozen women in a group are clearly enjoying themselves too, but they are not drinking alcohol. They're sipping handcrafted mocktails, with names like Baby's First Bourbon and Honey Dew Collins, featuring nonalcoholic distilled spirits. They're part of a sober social club, made up mostly of women in their 30s who want to have fun and make friends without alcohol. The members of this club work out, have demanding jobs and simply don't want to feel foggy or hungover anymore. Without alcohol, they say, they just feel better. "Oh my gosh. Well, one thing that was noticeable to pretty much everybody was my overall health and, like, my skin, my eyes. ... I lost weight," says Stephanie Forte, who works in sales in the beauty industry. Another social club member, Kathy Kuzniar, says she used to obsess over whether there was enough wine in the house. She says she feels calmer since she became sober, and she has lost 30 pounds. Not too long ago, a group of women in a bar who were not drinking alcohol would have seemed kind of strange. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 86 percent of adults over 18 report having had an alcoholic drink or drinks at some point in their lifetime, and 56 percent say they've had alcohol in the past month. Still, abstaining from alcohol — on a short-term basis or longer term — is becoming more common. © 2019 npr

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26366 - Posted: 06.28.2019

Laura Klivans San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city. The city is the corporate home of Juul Labs, the biggest producer of e-cigarettes in the United States. City Attorney Dennis Herrera co-authored the ordinance, and celebrated the final vote. "This is a decisive step to help prevent another generation of San Francisco children from becoming addicted to nicotine," he says. "This temporary moratorium wouldn't be necessary if the federal government had done its job," says Herrera. "E-cigarettes are a product that, by law, are not allowed on the market without FDA review. For some reason, the FDA has so far refused to follow the law. If the federal government is not going to act, San Francisco will." Juul responded to the final vote in a written statement to media, saying the ban will cause new challenges for the city. "This full prohibition will drive former adult smokers who successfully switched to vapor products back to deadly cigarettes, deny the opportunity to switch for current adult smokers, and create a thriving black market instead of addressing the actual causes of underage access and use," writes Juul spokesman Ted Kwong. Two San Francisco ordinances would prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes in brick-and-mortar stores and also online, if the products are being shipped to addresses in the city. © 2019 npr

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26362 - Posted: 06.27.2019

Preliminary research by the Canadian Paediatric Society found "a significant number of young children" required medical care after ingesting cannabis in the months surrounding legalization last October. The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program says it collected 16 reported cases of serious adverse events involving recreational cannabis between September and December 2018. They include six cases of kids younger than 18 who accidentally ate edibles and one case of accidental exposure. In each case, the cannabis belonged to a parent or caregiver. Four other cases of exposure were not accidental, although the society could not share more information. Details surrounding the five other reports were not immediately available, including how the kids were exposed to cannabis, their ages and whether exposure was accidental or not. The surveillance program defines "adverse events" as all cases in which kids are harmed by cannabis consumption, including injuries that may result from use by another individual, such as a friend or parent who is under the influence of cannabis. The two-year study will collect data until October 2020. The cannabis data was released Thursday, along with details from several other research projects underway. "The number of cases involving young children is striking," Christina Grant, a pediatrician in Hamilton and co-principal investigator, said Thursday in a release. ©2019 CBC/Radio-Canada

Keyword: Drug Abuse; Development of the Brain
Link ID: 26361 - Posted: 06.27.2019

/ By Sara Talpos Earlier this year, a half-dozen students from City Hill Middle School, in Naugatuck, Connecticut, traveled with their science teacher Katrina Spina to the state capital to testify in support of a bill that would ban sales of energy drinks to children under the age of 16. Having devoted three months to a chemistry unit studying the ingredients in and potential health impacts of common energy drinks — with brand names like Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar – the students came to a sobering conclusion: “Energy drinks can be fatal to everyone, but especially to adolescents,” 7th-grader Luke Deitelbaum told state legislators. “Even though this is true, most energy drink companies continue to market these drinks specifically toward teens.” “Countries such as the United Kingdom and Norway have considered banning sales to young people, while Lithuania and Latvia have active bans in place.” A 2018 report found that more than 40 percent of American teens in a survey had consumed an energy drink within the past three months. Another survey found that 28 percent of adolescents in the European Union had consumed these sorts of beverages in the past three days. This popularity is in marked contrast to the recommendations of groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Sports Medicine, who say youth should forgo these products entirely. These recommendations are based on concerns about health problems that, although rare, can occur after consumption, including seizures, delirium, rapid heart rate, stroke, and even sudden death. A U.S. government report found that from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks more than doubled, to nearly 21,000. Copyright 2019 Undark

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26358 - Posted: 06.26.2019

By Benedict Carey and Jennifer Steinhauer Confronted by a rising rate of suicides in some groups of veterans., the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday decided to approve the use of a new and costly depression drug, despite concerns among doctors and other experts about the drug’s effectiveness. The decision to endorse the drug — called Spravato, and manufactured by Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson — came days after President Trump offered to negotiate a deal between the drug maker and the agency. Johnson & Johnson reportedly was working with associates at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, and the company has been supporting V.A. suicide-prevention efforts. A spokesman for the V.A. said that the decision to approve the drug, which would cover its use by doctors in its nearly 1,000 clinics nationwide, was a medical one. In a statement, the agency said, “V.A. will closely monitor the use of esketamine” — the generic name for Spravato — “in veterans to more fully understand its relative safety and effectiveness as compared to other available treatments. Based on this information, V.A. may revise its clinical guidance” and the availability of the drug. The V.A. stopped short of putting Spavato on its formulary, the list of drugs it requires to be carried in its 260 or so pharmacies. The approval enables V.A. doctors to offer the drug to patients they believe could benefit. Some Congressional Democrats expressed concern at the fast approval process. “I am incredibly alarmed by reporting today that suggests Spravato, a controversial new drug, is being rushed through critical reviews and may be prescribed to veterans before fully vetting the potential risks and benefits,” said Mark Takano, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, in a prepared statement released Wednesday. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Depression; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26351 - Posted: 06.24.2019

For more than half a century, the world has known that tobacco kills — yet it is still killing more than 8 million people a year. Tobacco use remains the world’s worst entirely preventable public-health emergency, and there is a desperate need for fresh ways to tackle it. So it is little wonder that e-cigarettes have attracted attention as a potential solution. More than half of US adult smokers try to quit each year: in theory, e-cigarettes might boost their chances of success. It is generally agreed that vaping is safer than smoking conventional cigarettes. But even as e-cigarette sales have boomed — the global market was worth US$11.3 billion in 2018 — concerns have mushroomed, and research has failed to keep up. Urgent questions about vaping remain: whether it really does help people to quit smoking, whether it serves as a gateway to cigarettes, and whether the liquid formulations have short- and long-term health effects. Until such questions are answered, it seems premature to advocate strongly for e-cigarette use, and imperative that regulators develop guidelines to limit vaping by adolescents. A UK study published this year highlights the evidence gap. In a large randomized, controlled trial, researchers found that smokers who used e-cigarettes to help them quit were less likely to start smoking again for at least a year, compared with those who used other aids such as nicotine gum or patches1. The study was one of the most rigorous so far — yet the benefit was slight, and 75% of study participants had already tried and failed to quit using the other cessation aids, so it was less surprising that they failed again. Overall, studies have not found strong evidence for a benefit of e-cigarettes over other quitting strategies — including nicotine-replacement therapy combined with antidepressants. © 2019 Springer Nature Publishing AG

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26350 - Posted: 06.24.2019

A mother has laid bare the "brutal reality" of bringing up her adoptive son after he was left damaged by exposure to alcohol in the womb. Judith Knox says her 12-year-old son has a range of behavioural problems as a result of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It is estimated that as many as 172,000 people could be affected by the disorder in Scotland. But Ms Knox said it took six years for her son to be properly diagnosed. FASD is an umbrella term that describes the adverse physical and emotional conditions that affect people whose mother drank during pregnancy. A new support service for parents and carers, called FASD Hub Scotland, has now been launched. Ms Knox, who does not want to name her son or identify him through recent pictures, said the service was long overdue. She told BBC Scotland: "This has put a lot of strain on the family. "Your parenting is always being scrutinised and he just wants 100% of your attention, 100% of the time." The 51-year-old and her ex-husband adopted their son at the age of seven months and he quickly began to exhibit a raft of worrying behaviour. This included biting his fingers until they bled in a bid to stave off sleep, picking plaster from the walls to eat and ignoring the range of toys his family had bought him. Her son was eventually diagnosed with FASD at the age of six, after doctors initially wrongly thought he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But his behaviour continued to push his family to their limits.

Keyword: Development of the Brain; Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26340 - Posted: 06.20.2019

By Austin Frakt The idea that legal cannabis can help address the opioid crisis has generated much hope and enthusiasm. Opioid misuse has declined in recent years at the same time that cannabis use has been increasing, with many states liberalizing marijuana laws. Based on recent research, some advocates have been promoting this connection, arguing that easier access to marijuana reduces opioid use and, in turn, overdose deaths. A new study urges caution. Sometimes appearances — or statistics — can be deceiving. Why people were so hopeful It’s plausible that marijuana can help reduce pain. Systematic reviews show that certain compounds found in marijuana or synthetically produced cannabinoids do so, at least for some conditions. So some people who might otherwise seek out opioid painkillers could use medical marijuana instead. Regulations in some states, including New York, that streamline access to medical marijuana are based on the idea that it can substitute for opioids in pain treatment. In 2014, a study published in JAMA gave further hope that liberalizing marijuana laws might alleviate the opioid crisis. The study examined the years 1999 through 2010, during which 10 states established medical marijuana programs. It compared changes in the rates of opioid painkiller deaths in states that passed medical marijuana laws with those that had not. The results? Researchers found that the laws were associated with a nearly 25 percent decline in the death rate from opioid painkillers. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26332 - Posted: 06.18.2019

By Jan Hoffman An association between weed and the dead turns out to have been established long before the 1960s and far beyond a certain ur-band’s stomping grounds in San Francisco. Researchers have identified strains of cannabis burned in mortuary rituals as early as 500 B.C., deep in the Pamir mountains in western China, according to a new study published Wednesday. The residue had chemical signatures indicating high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s most psychoactive, or mood-altering, compound. You think the Grateful Dead were the first to wonder “what in the world ever became of sweet Jane?” That CBD gummies to assuage the anxious are anything new? That puffs of elevated consciousness started with Rocky Mountain highs? Nah. “Modern perspectives on cannabis vary tremendously cross-culturally, but it is clear that the plant has a long history of human use, medicinally, ritually and recreationally over countless millennia,” said Robert Spengler, an archaeobotanist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who worked on the study. Cannabis stems and seeds had previously been found at a handful of burial sites around Eurasia, but the evidence at the Pamir cemetery, verified by advanced scientific technology, shows an even more direct connection between the plant and early ritual. The new findings expand the geographical range of cannabis use within the broader Central Asian region, said Mark Merlin, a professor of botany at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who did not work on the research. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26326 - Posted: 06.14.2019

By Lenny Bernstein Five years ago, a study of death certificate data attracted notice for suggesting that states that passed medical marijuana laws saw 25 percent fewer opioid overdose deaths on average than states that barred medical cannabis. The authors were careful to point out that this finding was only a correlation, an intriguing hint at something that needed further exploration. There was no way to establish whether the availability of medical cannabis in some states protected against overdosing on harder drugs, even if some people used marijuana for pain. Nevertheless, the cannabis industry took up the study to help win passage of medical cannabis laws in more states, even as medical experts expressed skepticism. In a 2018 report, for example, Maryland’s medical marijuana commission found “no credible scientific evidence” that marijuana could treat opioid addiction. Now comes a study from Stanford University School of Medicine showing that when researchers looked at a longer period of time, states that introduced medical marijuana actually had 23 percent more deaths from opioid overdoses. The new work appears to be a cautionary tale about inferring cause and effect — wanting research to show something it can’t because the nation is in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic or because there is money to be made by offering possible solutions. The nation’s opioid crisis, now more than two decades old, has taken more than 400,000 lives, according to government data. “A lot of people interpreted the first study as causal because it’s congenial to their goals,” said Chelsea L. Shover, a postdoctoral fellow in psychiatry who was part of the Stanford research team. “It did not say that one is causing the other.” © 1996-2019 The Washington Post

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26321 - Posted: 06.11.2019

By Jon Morgenstern The nation’s growing addiction crisis has amplified the urgent and long-standing need for integrating research into substance abuse treatment and recovery process. While there has been an increase in research activity focused on addiction issues, the challenge is that it often takes a decade or more before important clinical findings can be implemented into real-world care delivery. How can the industry address this problem and make continuous quality improvement a cornerstone of substance abuse treatment? I believe we need to create addiction treatment learning laboratories that are embedded into, and coexist with, treatment and recovery centers. The goal of this approach is to accelerate the translation of basic science discoveries into actionable treatment methodologies that can be shared with and help advance the work of addiction professionals nationwide. While research has generated evidence of treatment efficacy in highly controlled settings, there is limited understanding of how to apply this knowledge in ongoing care regimens. For example, most programs offer a variety of different treatments, but there is no research on the impact of these multicomponent programs or how to tailor care to the unique problems of individual patients. © 2019 Scientific American

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26301 - Posted: 06.05.2019

By Robert D. McFadden Dr. James S. Ketchum, an Army psychiatrist who in the 1960s conducted experiments with LSD and other powerful hallucinogens using volunteer soldiers as test subjects in secret research on chemical agents that might incapacitate the minds of battlefield adversaries, died on May 27 at his home in Peoria, Ariz. He was 87. His wife, Judy Ketchum, confirmed the death on Monday, adding that the cause had not been determined. Decades before a convention eventually signed by more than 190 nations outlawed chemical weapons, Dr. Ketchum argued that recreational drugs favored by the counterculture could be used humanely to befuddle small units of enemy troops, and that a psychedelic “cloud of confusion” could stupefy whole battlefield regiments more ethically than the lethal explosions and flying steel of conventional weapons. For nearly a decade he spearheaded these studies at Edgewood Arsenal, a secluded Army chemical weapons center on Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, where thousands of soldiers were drugged. Some could be found mumbling as they pondered nonexistent objects, or picking obsessively at bedclothes, or walking about in dreamlike deliriums. Asked to perform reasoning tests, some subjects could not stop laughing. It sometimes took days for the effects to wear off, and even then, Dr. Ketchum wrote in a self-published memoir, many displayed irrational aggressions and fears. He built padded rooms to minimize injuries, but occasionally one would escape. Some soldiers smashed furniture or menaced others, imagining they were running from hordes of rats or killers. “The idea of chemical weapons is still preferable to me, depending on how they are used, as a way of neutralizing an enemy,” Dr. Ketchum told The New York Times in an interview for this obituary in 2016, a half-century after his groundbreaking experiments. “They are still more humane than conventional weapons currently being used, if the public can ever get over its psychological block of being afraid of chemical weapons.” © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26294 - Posted: 06.04.2019

Coffee lovers who drink up to 25 cups a day can rest assured the drink is not bad for their heart, scientists say. Some previous studies have suggested that coffee stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, with drinkers warned to cut down their consumption. But a new study of more than 8,000 people across the UK found that drinking five cups a day, and even up to 25, was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than a cup a day. The research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester. Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals Read more Experts from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) divided 8,412 people into three groups for the study. The first group was of those who drink less than one cup of coffee a day, the second was of those who drink between one and three cups a day, and the third was those who drink more than three. Some people in the latter group drank up to 25 cups a day, although the average number for people in this group was five cups a day. Researchers found that even those drinking up to 25 cups of coffee a day were no more likely to have stiffening of arteries than those who drank less than one cup a day.

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26288 - Posted: 06.03.2019

By Veronique Greenwood After a long hike on a hot day, few things are more rewarding than a tall, frosty glass of water. The rush of pleasure that comes with a drink might feel like a sign from your body that you’ve done the right thing, a reward for remedying your dehydration. But that pleasing sensation isn’t actually linked to your real need for a drink. In a study published Wednesday in the journal Neuron, a group of scientists who have studied how thirst works in the bodies of mammals report that the neural systems related to the feeling of reward work independently of those involved in monitoring water intake. Staying hydrated is high on most organisms’ list of priorities. Mammals have multiple ways of tracking the water they’ve consumed, a subject Yuki Oka, a neuroscientist at the California Institute of Technology, has long studied in mice. The mechanisms in other mammals, including humans, may be similar. One method he and colleagues explored in earlier research involves the gulping motion made by the throat as liquid is swallowed. That gulping sends a message to the brain that water has been consumed, quieting the neurons that generate the urge to drink. But that happens regardless of whether the substance gulped was water or oil, suggesting that the act of gulping only briefly convinces your brain that your thirst is quenched. The body also tracks the presence of water in the gut, and when it becomes clear that water is not arriving, thirst returns. Dr. Oka and colleagues report in their latest study that injecting water directly into the stomachs of mice did quench thirst, albeit after a longer lag. © 2019 The New York Times Company

Keyword: Drug Abuse
Link ID: 26287 - Posted: 06.01.2019