Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs News

A Mother's Touch May Protect Against Drug Cravings Later

An attentive, nurturing mother may be able to help her children better resist the temptations of drug use later in life, according to a study in rats conducted by Duke University and the University of Adelaide in Australia.

A rat mother's attention in early childhood actually changes the immune response in the brains of her pups by permanently altering genetic activity, according to Staci Bilbo, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, who led the research. High-touch mothering increased the brain's production of an immune system molecule called Interleukin-10, leaving these rats better able to resist the temptation of a dose of morphine much later in life.

Lasting Toxicity In The Brain From Ecstasy Drug

Recreational use of Ecstasy - the illegal "rave" drug that produces feelings of euphoria and emotional warmth - is associated with chronic changes in the human brain, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

The findings, reported online in the Archives of General Psychiatry, add to the growing evidence that Ecstasy produces long-lasting serotonin neurotoxicity in humans, said Ronald Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry.

"Our study provides some of the strongest evidence to date that the drug causes chronic loss of serotonin in humans."

The neurotransmitter serotonin, a critical signaling molecule, has roles in regulating mood, appetite, sleep, learning and memory.

Medical Marijuana Laws May Be Making Our Highways Safer

A groundbreaking new study shows that laws legalizing medical marijuana have resulted in a nearly nine percent drop in traffic deaths and a five percent reduction in beer sales.

"Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults," said Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

The researchers collected data from a variety of sources including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.


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