Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Erasing' Drug-associated Memories May Stop Drug Addiction Relapses

Date:
August 14, 2008
Source:
University of Cambridge
Summary:
"Erasing" drug-associated memories may prevent recovering drug abusers from relapsing, researchers have discovered. The team was able to reduce drug-seeking behaviors in rats by blocking a brain chemical receptor important to learning and memory during the recall of drug-associated memories.

'Erasing' drug-associated memories may prevent recovering drug abusers from relapsing, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered.

Related Articles


The team, led by Professor Barry Everitt, was able to reduce drug-seeking behaviours in rats by blocking a brain chemical receptor important to learning and memory during the recall of drug-associated memories. Their research, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, was reported in the 13 August issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

The Cambridge scientists found that by disrupting or erasing memories associated with drug use during recall, they could prevent the memories from triggering relapses and drug taking.

Memories exist in different states depending on whether they are being recalled or not. When memories are recalled, they become 'unstable' or malleable and can be altered or erased during the process called reconsolidation. Because relapse by drug abusers is often prompted when they recall drug-associated memories, the scientists found that by blocking these memories they could prevent relapse.

In order to undertake the experiments, the researchers trained rats to associate the switching on of a light with cocaine. The researchers then exposed the rats to the light, thereby 'reactivating' the memory, without the cocaine. In an effort to receive more cocaine, the rats would perform tasks that the scientists had created which would turn on the light.

When the animals were given a chemical that interfered with the action of the NMDA-type glutamate receptor (which plays an important role in memory) prior to the 'reactivation' session, the rats showed reduced cocaine-seeking behaviours. A single treatment reduced or even stopped drug-seeking behaviours for up to four weeks.

In contrast, blocking the receptors after or without the reactivation session had no effect on subsequent drug-seeking behaviours, indicating that drug-associated memories can be disrupted during but not after reconsolidation of memories.

Professor Barry Everitt said, "The results suggest that efforts should be made to develop drugs that could be given in a controlled clinical or treatment environment in which addicts would have their most potent drug memories reactivated. Such treatments would be expected to diminish the effects of those memories in the future and help individuals resist relapse and maintain their abstinence."

Dr Amy Milton, a co-author, said, "This is a new approach to the treatment of drug addiction that has great potential. Additionally, this might also be used to treat other neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by maladaptive memories, including post-traumatic stress and phobic anxiety disorders."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cambridge. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cambridge. "'Erasing' Drug-associated Memories May Stop Drug Addiction Relapses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812213931.htm>.
University of Cambridge. (2008, August 14). 'Erasing' Drug-associated Memories May Stop Drug Addiction Relapses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812213931.htm
University of Cambridge. "'Erasing' Drug-associated Memories May Stop Drug Addiction Relapses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080812213931.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins