How do antidepressants affect gut bacteria?

Newly published research in rodents and ongoing research in humans examines the effects of psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, on the composition of gut bacteria.

More and more studies are supporting the role of the gut microbiota in psychiatric conditions.

Anxiety and depression are only some of the mental health conditions that researchers have linked to changes in the composition of the gut microbiota.

For example, a recent study that Medical News Today has reported on listed a range of bacteria that contribute to creating neuroactive compounds in the gut — that is, substances that interact with the nervous system, influencing the likelihood of developing depression.

Full story at Medical News Today

Teens and Young Adults Should Avoid E-Cigarettes, CDC Advises

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating at least 215 possible cases of severe lung disease associated with vaping. Teens and young adults should not use e-cigarettes, the agency said. Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette products, the CDC advised.

Cases of lung disease linked to e-cigarettes have been reported in 25 states, according to HealthDay. Additional reports of lung disease are being investigated by states to determine whether those illnesses are related to e-cigarette use, the CDC said.

An adult in Illinois recently died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness after vaping, the article notes.

Full story at Partnership for Drug-Free-Kids

Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression

Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Chronic drug users learn to associate the drug-taking environment with the drug itself, reinforcing memories that contribute to addiction. These memories are thought to be created by changes in gene expression in the hippocampus and potentially involve the gene FosB, but the exact mechanism is unknown.

A.J. Robinson and colleagues at Michigan State University examined how cocaine exposure affected expression of the FosB gene in the hippocampus. Mice that were administered cocaine daily showed increased expression of FosB compared to mice that received saline. Chronic cocaine use caused epigenetic modification of the gene, leading it to becoming more active. Additionally, when the scientists blocked the changes made to FosB, the mice were unable to form associations between cocaine and the environment where they received it, implicating epigenetic regulation of the gene in drug memory formation.

Full story at Science Daily

Alternative to ‘revolving door’ of opioid detox and relapse

In a first-ever randomized trial, patients at a short-term inpatient program began long-term outpatient treatment with buprenorphine before discharge, with better outcomes than detox patients.

Three out of four people who complete an inpatient opioid withdrawal management program — commonly known as “detox” — relapse within a month, leading to a “revolving door” effect. Few successfully transition from the inpatient setting to long-term treatment with proven medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to prevent overdose.

But patients who start long-term buprenorphine treatment at a detox program, instead of going through detox and getting a referral for such treatment at discharge, are less likely to use opioids illicitly over the following six months, and more likely to keep up treatment, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher and published in the journal Addiction.

Full story at Science Daily

Sales Soar for Fruity and Candy-Flavored Pods Made by Juul Competitors

Companies that make fruity and candy-flavored pods compatible with Juul devices are seeing big increases in sales, after Juul Labs stopped selling most of its flavored nicotine pods under pressure from the Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times reports.

These so-called “Juul-alikes” include pods made by Eonsmoke, which are cheaper than Juul’s products, and available in more flavors. Some of the company’s pods contain levels of nicotine higher than any Juul sells, the article notes.

Another competitor, Ziip, sells dozens of flavors compatible with Juul, including Froopy, Iced Pina Colada, Cinnamon Roll and Strawberry Lemonade.

Full story at Partnership for Drug Free Kids