Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Memory-boosting drug may help cocaine addicts avoid relapse

Date:
August 4, 2010
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
A memory-boosting medication paired with behavioral therapy might help addicts stay clean, according to new animal research. The study suggests D-cycloserine, previously used in the lab to treat fear and anxiety disorders, could help an addict resist drugs even when confronted with drug-related cues outside of rehab.

A memory-boosting medication paired with behavioral therapy might help addicts stay clean, according to new animal research in the Aug. 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The study suggests D-cycloserine, previously used in the lab to treat fear and anxiety disorders, could help an addict resist drugs even when confronted with drug-related cues outside of rehab.

Substance abusers have high rates of relapse, often falling back into old habits only days after they "quit." Addictive substances are difficult to resist in part because a single environmental cue, such as a drug-related sight or smell, can trigger cravings.

In this study, a group of researchers led by Mary Torregrossa, PhD, of Yale University, observed 168 rats that self-administered cocaine for weeks, a behavior that mimics addiction in humans. The authors then used a form of behavioral therapy called extinction therapy to dampen the craving-inducing effects of cues. The scientists supplemented the therapy with the memory-enhancing drug.

"Extinction therapy usually only works where the therapy takes place, like a treatment center," Torregrossa said. "Using drugs like D-cycloserine to make extinction work more broadly is a big advancement in the treatment of addiction."

Notably, a human addict may rebuff drugs while inside a treatment facility and even stay clean after returning home. However, after encountering a former drug partner, the abuser feels an overwhelming need to resume drug-taking. In extinction therapy, the aim is to break the association between these dangerous, omnipresent cues and drug use.

The new results show that extinction therapy, in conjunction with D-cycloserine, could combat relapse due to cues, even in new environments. The authors also found that the medication acted primarily on a brain region called the nucleus accumbens, an area associated with drug addiction and the formation of drug-related memories. D-cycloserine acts at specific kinds of receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate, a chemical that plays a key role in learning and memory.

Barry Everitt, PhD, of the University of Cambridge, an expert in addiction and the brain who was unaffiliated with the study, said the study by Torregrossa and her colleagues has implications for transferring clinical therapies to the real world of the addict.

"The study suggests that boosting the activity of glutamate in a specific area of the brain removes this context-specificity of extinction, and might therefore make existing addiction therapies more effective," Everitt said.

The research was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service and the Connecticut Mental Health Center.


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. "Memory-boosting drug may help cocaine addicts avoid relapse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803174910.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2010, August 4). Memory-boosting drug may help cocaine addicts avoid relapse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803174910.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Memory-boosting drug may help cocaine addicts avoid relapse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803174910.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 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
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
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
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