Experimental drug may ease opioid withdrawal symptoms

A drug that scientists originally developed to treat depression may have promise for the treatment of opioid withdrawal, researchers say.

Opioid withdrawal is a challenging experience, and although there are medications already on the market that can help curb the symptoms of withdrawal, these drugs cause negative side effects.

Current withdrawal medications also often require people to take them for a prolonged period, which is not ideal and could lead to a relapse.

Full story at Medical News Today

My experience living with extreme anxiety

If I think back to all of the most memorable and joyous moments of my life, my memories are laced with a dark, gripping cloak of anxiety.

Experiences that other people would celebrate, such as graduations, weddings, and promotions, are dreaded milestones for me — not the ferociously sought-after goals that they are for many people.

Sometimes, I think back to try to identify the defining moment that turned me into the anxious, paranoid wreck that I became for so long. I search for clues regarding what led me there. Maybe my mother was withholding, or maybe my father was too strict.

Full story at Medical News Today

Senators Ask Juul for Information About Marketing E-Cigarettes to Youth

Eleven U.S. senators wrote a letter to e-cigarette maker Juul Labs this week, asking for information about the company’s marketing to youth, CNN reports.

The senators also asked about Juul’s relationship with tobacco company Altria, which invested almost $13 billion in the company in 2018.

“Altria has a long and sordid history of spending billions to entice children to smoke through targeted campaigns that intentionally lied about the science and health effects from cigarettes,” the letter says. It was signed by Democrats including Dick Durbin of Illinois, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Full story at drugfree.org

Marijuana for morning sickness? It’s not great for baby’s brain

With a growing number of states legalizing recreational or medical marijuana, more women are using the drug during pregnancy, in part due to its reported ability to relieve morning sickness. A new study, conducted in rats, sheds light on how cannabis exposure affects the brain of a developing fetus.

Previous research has shown children born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to develop behavioral problems as well as learning and memory impairments. The new research offers further confirmation on those findings and pinpoints how the drug alters the intricate connections in nerves in the hippocampus, the brain’s center for learning and memory. Understanding exactly how marijuana affects these brain connections could one day lead to interventions to reduce the damage, researchers say.

“The findings from this study will serve as an excellent premise for future interventions to restore memory in children exposed to cannabis during pregnancy, and for the first time, identify a specific mechanism by which learning and memory impairment occurs and how this impairment can be ameliorated,” said Priyanka Das Pinky, a graduate student in the laboratory of Vishnu Suppiramaniam, PhD, acting associate dean for research and graduate programs at Auburn University.

Full story at Science Daily

Why do we empathize? Researchers take on new perspective

Humans have a compulsion to simulate the activities and behaviors of others in their social group, but why is that? The findings of a new study may change the way that we understand empathy and phenomena of emotional and behavioral contagion.

Empathy is a complex occurrence that researchers sometimes define as “feeling concern for others [and] sharing and comprehending their emotions, prompting motivation to help them.”

While empathy may not always come naturally, it is related to other phenomena that occur mechanically and are tied to mirroring other people’s behaviors or emotions.

Full story at Medical News Today