Meth Vaccine Shows Promising Results in Early Tests; Blocking a Meth High Could Help Addicts Committed to Recovery

Meth Vaccine Blocks Meth HighScientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have performed successful tests of an experimental methamphetamine vaccine on rats. Vaccinated animals that received the drug were largely protected from typical signs of meth intoxication. If the vaccine proves effective in humans too, it could become the first specific treatment for meth addiction, which is estimated to affect 25 million people worldwide.

"This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have then gone to clinical trials," said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor in TSRI’s addiction science group, known as the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders. Taffe is the senior author of the study, which is currently in press with the journal Biological Psychiatry.

A Common and Dangerous Drug of Abuse

Over the past two decades, methamphetamine has become one of the most common drugs of abuse around the world. In the United States alone there are said to be more than 400,000 current users, and in some states, including California, meth accounts for more primary drug abuse treatment admissions than any other drug. Meth has characteristics that make it more addictive than other common drugs of abuse, and partly for this reason, there are no approved treatments for meth addiction.

Full story of meth vaccine at Science Daily

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Your brain on food: Obesity, fasting and addiction

We all know that what you eat can change your physical appearance. It also alters how your body functions, making it more or less difficult to pump blood, grow healthy bones or process insulin.

New research presented this week at the Neuroscience 2012 conference suggests that what you eat can even alter your brain – and vice versa.

Timothy Verstynen and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the brain activity in 29 adults. The study participants were shown words on a screen in various colors and asked to identify the color, not the word. Sometimes it was easy – the word red printed in red; other times it was harder, like seeing the word red printed in blue.

The overweight and obese participants’ brains showed more activity during difficult questions, suggesting they were working harder to get the same answers.
Verstynen said the results imply that obese people are less efficient at making complex decisions, which could be important for controlling impulse behavior.

Full story of the brain on food at CNN Health

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Internet Changing Addiction Treatment, Expert Says

Internet Addiction Online TreatmentWeb-based programs are proving to be an innovative and powerful adjunct to addiction treatment, according to an expert on internet treatment strategies. However, they are not meant to replace face-to-face addiction treatment, notes Paul Radkowski, CEO/Clinical Director at Life Recovery Program in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Internet addiction programs range from web-based education interventions, to self-guided web-based therapeutic programs, to human-supported web-based therapies, Radkowski explained at the recent annual meeting of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

“Addiction is a 24/7 issue, and requires 24/7 solutions. Internet programs can help address that need. They are not meant to replace face-to-face modalities, which provide support and accountability, but can supplement them,” Radkowski said.

Full story of internet addiction treatment at DrugFree.org

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Almost 30 Percent of Teen Boys Use Some Form of Tobacco, CDC Study Finds

Teen Boys Tobacco Use at 30 PercentAlmost 30 percent of boys and 18 percent of girls in middle and high school used some type of tobacco last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday. The rate of teen tobacco use has been slowly declining over the past decade.

The CDC report found 23.2 percent of high school students and 7.1 percent of middle school students used some form of tobacco, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The CDC findings come from a national survey of almost 19,000 students. The report notes that among middle school students, current cigarette use declined from 10.7 percent in 2000 to 4.3 percent in 2011. Among high school students, current cigarette use decreased from 27.9 percent to 15.8 percent during that period.

Full story of teen boys tobacco use at DrugFree.org

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New Vaccine for Nicotine Addiction

New Vaccine For Smoking AddictionResearchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed and successfully tested in mice an innovative vaccine to treat nicotine addiction.

In the journal Science Translational Medicine, the scientists describe how a single dose of their novel vaccine protects mice, over their lifetime, against nicotine addiction. The vaccine is designed to use the animal’s liver as a factory to continuously produce antibodies that gobble up nicotine the moment it enters the bloodstream, preventing the chemical from reaching the brain and even the heart.

"As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect," says the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Our vaccine allows the body to make its own monoclonal antibodies against nicotine, and in that way, develop a workable immunity," Dr. Crystal says.

Full story of nicotine addiction vaccine at Science Daily

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