Wed, Aug 23, 2017 | updated 06:03 AM IST

What makes cocaine so addictive?

Updated: Aug 02, 2016 11:47 IST      
What makes cocaine so addictive?

Washington D.C, Aug 2 (ANI): Taking cocaine just once can get you hooked and now, a team of researchers has offered some clues as to why it is so.

"Scientists have known for years that cocaine affects the dopamine system and dopamine transporters, so we designed our study to gain a better understanding of how tolerance to cocaine develops via the dopamine transporters," said lead author Sara R. Jones from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

She added, "Currently there isn't any effective treatment available for cocaine addiction so understanding the underlying mechanism is essential for targeting potential new treatments."

Using an animal model, the research team replicated cocaine addiction by allowing rats to self-administer as much cocaine as they wanted (up to 40 doses) during a six-hour period. Six-hour-a-day access is long enough to cause escalation of intake and tip animals over from having controlled intake to more uncontrolled, binge-like behavior, Jones said.

Following the five-day experiment, the animals were not allowed cocaine for 14 or 60 days. After the periods of abstinence, the researchers looked at the animals' dopamine transporters and they appeared normal, just like those in the control animals that had only received saline.

However, a single self-administered infusion of cocaine at the end of abstinence, even after 60 days, fully reinstated tolerance to cocaine's effects in the animals that had binged. In the control animals that had never received cocaine, a single dose did not have the same effect.

These data demonstrate that cocaine leaves a long-lasting imprint on the dopamine system that is activated by re-exposure to cocaine, Jones said. This 'priming effect,' which may be permanent, may contribute to the severity of relapse episodes in cocaine addicts.

"Even after 60 days of abstinence, which is roughly equivalent to four years in humans, it only took a single dose of cocaine to put the rats back to square one with regard to its' dopamine system and tolerance levels, and increased the likelihood of binging again," Jones said. "It's that terrible cycle of addiction."

Jones added that hope is on the horizon through preclinical trials that are testing several amphetamine-like drugs for effectiveness in treating cocaine addiction.

The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)

USA all set to witness the great American Solar eclipse

Updated: Aug 21, 2017 18:59 IST     

New York [USA], August 21 (ANI): People of the United States are all set to see a total solar eclipse, which will take place on Monday, 10.30 pm, according to Indian Standard Time.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 21 (ANI): Soldiering in arctic conditions is tough, but it will not remain so for long now as a team of researchers is all set to all set to change the game.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 20 (ANI): Through analysis of volcanic tracks, a team of researchers has found that hot spots like those that formed the Hawaiian Islands do not move as quickly as previously thought.

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New Delhi [India], Aug 19 (ANI): Vijnana Bharati's JNU chapter commenced with a Dr Vikram Sarabhai Memorial lecture, celebrating the National Remote Sensing Day in the university's School of Environmental Sciences (SES).

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Indian researchers discover two new species of earthworm

Updated: Aug 19, 2017 06:57 IST     

New Delhi [India], Aug 19 (ANI): A team of Indian researchers has discovered two new primitive species of earthworm in the Western Ghats mountain ranges in Kerala.

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New Delhi [India], Aug 18 (ANI): Two recent studies have highlighted effective ways of reducing antibiotic consumption without any disadvantage for patients.

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Japan introduces solar heat-blocking pavements

Updated: Aug 17, 2017 14:10 IST     

Tokyo [Japan], Aug.16 (ANI): The host city of Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, Tokyo is working on heat blocking methods during the summer.

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New Delhi [India], August 17 (ANI): The Fortis Foundation recently launched two charitable medical dispensaries at the Anubhavi Ashram in Haridwar, Uttarakhand and at the Aggarwal Dharamshala in New Delhi.

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Nagpur (Maharashtra) [India], Aug.15 (ANI): The public sector Oil and Natural Gas Coroporation (ONGC) has extended a support of Rs 100 crore to turn the vision of affordable world class cancer care facilities in Central India into reality.

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Are tidally-locked exoplanets more common than believed?

Updated: Aug 15, 2017 10:16 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 15 (ANI): There's a possibility for a lot more exoplanets to be tidally locked, according to new research.

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Robots lend a helping hand to esophageal surgeons

Updated: Aug 13, 2017 05:25 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 13 (ANI): Robots are no longer just useful tools to make life easy and convenient; turns out, some of them can offer key advantages in esophageal surgeries.

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Are USB connections putting your data at risk?

Updated: Aug 11, 2017 04:21 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 11 (ANI): Turns out, USB connections, the most common interface used globally to connect external devices to computers, make snooping easy.

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Turns out, you can catch 'Science' bug from peers

Updated: Aug 10, 2017 07:17 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 10 (ANI): According to a recent study, developing an interest in Science as is simple as sitting next to a bunch of students fascinated by the topic.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 9 (ANI): During a walk near a reservoir in a small Japanese town, amateur collectors made the discovery of their lives - the first and oldest fossil bird ever identified in their country.

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Ocean's fastest shark at risk of being 'overfished'

Updated: Aug 09, 2017 01:46 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 9 (ANI): Overfishing is putting the ocean's fastest shark at risk, according to a recent research.

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20-month-olds can understand difference between two languages

Updated: Aug 08, 2017 07:12 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 8 (ANI): Are two languages at a time too much for the infant mind? According to a recent study, babies as young as 20 months can understand a lot more than you'd think.

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Washington D.C. [USA], August 7 (ANI): Researchers have developed a learning method to change cognitive function by manipulating connections in the brain.

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Kicking butts to the curb

Updated: Aug 07, 2017 00:57 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 7 (ANI): Cigarette butts are more than mere litter and now, a team of scientists has found a way to pave over the big problem.

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Desert tortoises can't take heat of roadside fencing

Updated: Aug 06, 2017 13:55 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], August 6 (ANI): US researchers have revealed that roadside fencing, which is meant to help desert tortoise, can actually overheat them leading to their death.

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Scientists unveil how brain works with the help of magic

Updated: Aug 02, 2017 14:58 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], August 2 (ANI): To tap into brain's 'out-of-the box' thinking, scientists are now relying on magic tricks and illusions.

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