One e-cigarette with nicotine leads to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers’ hearts

A new UCLA study found that healthy nonsmokers experienced increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine but there were no increased adrenaline levels when the study subjects used an a nicotine-free or empty e-cig.

The findings are published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Unlike cigarettes, e-cigs have no combustion or tobacco. Instead, these electronic, handheld devices deliver nicotine with flavoring and other chemicals in a vapor instead of smoke.

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Unintentional drug use continues among molly users in EDM party scene

Electronic dance music (EDM) parties have historically been high-risk scenes for use of a variety of psychoactive substances. Studies over the past couple of years have found nightclub and festival attendees report high rates of use. These parties are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., and drug use at such parties has been associated with severe adverse health outcomes, including death. Severity of potential negative health outcomes in EDM environments makes data on both known and unknown drug use critical to further prevention and harm reduction efforts.

“Ecstasy or ‘Molly’ users in the U.S. are at very high risk for using drugs containing adulterants such as ‘bath salts’ and methamphetamine,” said Dr. Joseph Palamar, PhD, MPH, of the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (NYU CDUHR). “More information is critically needed on the extent of unknown or unintentional use of these potentially harmful substances.”

Full story at Science Daily

New insights, possible solutions for opioid epidemics using machine

Mount Sinai researchers have identified unique structural, biological and chemical insights in the way different opioid drugs activate the receptors and specific signaling pathways responsible for the drug’s beneficial and adverse effects, according to a study to be published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. The findings of this study may provide a blueprint for designing improved painkillers.

“These new insights will provide a roadmap to develop a new class of drugs that are non-addictive and less harmful for patients,” said Marta Filizola, PhD, Professor of Pharmacological Science and Professor of Neuroscience, Dean of The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and lead investigator of the study. “These insights may help us engineer new painkillers with reduced side effects, particularly respiratory depression. An alternative, non-addictive medication for chronic pain will help us combat the ongoing national crisis of addiction to opioid drugs and the devastating overdose epidemic deriving from it.”

Full story at Science Daily

Marijuana may produce psychotic-like effects in high-risk individuals

Marijuana may bring on temporary paranoia and other psychosis-related effects in individuals at high risk of developing a psychotic disorder, finds a preliminary study from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

The study was published last month in an online edition of Psychiatry Research.

Individuals who have had mild or transient psychotic symptoms (such as unusual thoughts, suspiciousness, perceptual disturbances) without using substances such as marijuana or alcohol and have a family history of psychosis or other risk factors are considered at clinical high risk for psychotic disorder. Previous studies have found an association between marijuana use and psychosis in the general population, but none have rigorously examined marijuana’s effects in those at greatest risk for psychosis.

Full story at Science Daily

Reversing the negative effects of adolescent marijuana use

Researchers at Western University have found a way to use pharmaceuticals to reverse the negative psychiatric effects of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. Chronic adolescent marijuana use has previously been linked to the development of psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia, in adulthood. But until now, researchers were unsure of what exactly was happening in the brain to cause this to occur.

“What is important about this study is that not only have we identified a specific mechanism in the prefrontal cortex for some of the mental health risks associated with adolescent marijuana use, but we have also identified a mechanism to reverse those risks,” said Steven Laviolette, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Full story at Science Daily