Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Amino Acid May Help Reduce Cocaine Cravings

Date:
October 23, 2009
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
A new study in rats has found that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a commonly available and generally nontoxic amino acid derivative, reverses changes in the brain's circuitry associated with cocaine addiction. The reversal appears to lessen the cravings associated with cocaine, thus providing protection against relapse.

A new study in rats has found that N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a commonly available and generally nontoxic amino acid derivative, reverses changes in the brain's circuitry associated with cocaine addiction. The reversal appears to lessen the cravings associated with cocaine, thus providing protection against relapse.

The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2009, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

"Our finding suggests a promising therapeutic strategy for cocaine addiction, for which there is no approved treatment," said lead author Khaled Moussawi of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug characterized by frequent relapses. Recent advances in brain imaging are helping scientists uncover what happens in the brain when an addicted person is exposed to the drug-associated "cues" that trigger craving -- and lead to relapse. They've found that repeated exposure to psychoactive drugs such as cocaine causes an imbalance in the brain circuits regulating reward and cognitive control.

One of these circuits is a pathway involving the neurotransmitter glutamate. In the current study, Moussawi and his colleagues found that NAC restored normal functioning to this circuit in rats that had been previously addicted to cocaine. In addition, after receiving NAC, the previously cocaine-addicted rats did not reengage in drug-seeking behavior, even in the presence of drug-associated cues.

"Clinical trials involving people addicted to cocaine and nicotine have already suggested that N-acetylcysteine may be useful in decreasing cravings for those drugs," said Moussawi. "Our research adds support to that suggestion." A phase III clinical trial using NAC to treat cocaine addiction is currently underway.

Research was supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Amino Acid May Help Reduce Cocaine Cravings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023102504.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2009, October 23). Amino Acid May Help Reduce Cocaine Cravings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023102504.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Amino Acid May Help Reduce Cocaine Cravings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023102504.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. 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:
from the past week

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