Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 20.03.2020 Interview with: Jiajin Yuan, Ph.D Professor of Psychology Director, The Laboratory for Affect Cognition and Regulation, Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China What is the background for this study? Response: Impulsivity is a critical symptom of methamphetamine addiction, and this symptom plays an important role in compulsive, unresistable drug-seeking behavioral and is thus detrimental to the rehabilitation. Impulsivity in drug addiction also contributes to disruption of people's goal pursuit/goal maintenance, and aggressive/violent behaviors after drug use. Also, lack of suitable intervention for addiction-related impulsivity is known to be a risky factor for the drug reuse after successful rehabilitation. Thus, rehabilitaton targeted at impulsivity in methamphetamine addicts is important to comprehensive rehabilitation of the drug addiction and also to successful return to social life after rehabilitation (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cocaine, Genetic Research / 17.07.2018 Interview with: “Cocaine concealed in washing powder” by The National Crime Agency is licensed under CC BY 2.0 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Drug addiction is a chronically relapsing neuropsychiatric disease that affects 15.5 million people in Europe at a cost of 65.7 billion euros per year. All addictive drugs have in common to cause an artificial increase in the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, a very basic effect that can be found in all studied animal species from the fly to the man. The release of dopamine takes place in a region of the brain called the ventral striatum, or Nucleus Accumbens (NAc), which is directly involved in reward and reinforcement processes. An excess of dopamine release by the dopaminergic neurons projecting to the NAc from the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) triggers long-term changes in the brain, which can lead to addiction. Cocaine is a prototypical addictive drug, since it is heavely abused in Western societies and extensively studied in animal models as well as humans. We discovered that mice lacking the Maged1 gene showed a marked decrease in cocaine-elicited release of dopamine in the NAc and were entirely unresponsive to cocaine at behavioral level. In fact, they did not show any behavioral reaction normally observed after cocaine treatment, such as cocaine-elicited hyperlocomotion, sensitization (an increased effect of the drug following repeated administrations) or addictive behaviors, such as increased preference for places where the animal expects to obtain a cocaine reward or cocaine self-administration. In a subsequent set of experiments, the researchers tried to identify what brain regions are responsible for Maged1 influence on cocaine effects and found that Maged1 expression is specifically required in the prefrontal cortex, and not in the neurons producing dopamine in the VTA, for the development of cocaine sensitization and dopamine release.  (more…)
Addiction, Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Opiods / 02.09.2016 Interview with: N. Nick Knezevic, MD, PhD Vice Chair for Research and Education Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at University of Illinois Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology Chicago, IL 60657 What is the background for this study? Response: Even though serious efforts have been undertaken by different medical societies to reduce opioid use for treating chronic non-cancer pain, still many Americans seek pain relief through opioid consumption. The purpose of this study was to accurately assess compliance of chronic opioid consuming patients in an outpatient setting and evaluate if utilizing repeated urine drug testing could improve compliance. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Methamphetamine / 13.02.2015 Interview with: Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D Ewha W. University Seoul, South Korea MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lyoo: Recent studies increasingly suggested that the developing brain shows unique characteristics of neuroplasticity to environmental stimuli. Still, it remains unclear whether the adolescent brain would undergo adaptive or dysfunctional changes when exposed to highly neurotoxic substances including methamphetamine. However, despite an increasing prevalence of methamphetamine use in this population, human studies have not yet found clear answers to these questions regarding the effects of methamphetamine exposure on the adolescent brain. This study reports novel in vivo findings in adolescent methamphetamine users, and thus provides a new perspective regarding adolescent-specific brain correlates of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. Using cortical thickness and diffusion tensor image analyses, we found greater and more widespread gray and white matter alterations, particularly affecting the frontostriatal system, in adolescent methamphetamine users compared with adult users. Our findings highlight that the adolescent brain, which undergoes active myelination and maturation, is much more vulnerable to methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity than the adult brain. This may help explain why adolescent-onset methamphetamine users show more severe and chronic clinical course than adult-onset users. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology / 10.07.2014

Tara Gomes St Michael's Hospital Toronto, ON, Interview with: Tara Gomes St Michael's Hospital Toronto, ON, Canada Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Tara Gomes: We found that rates of opioid overdose in Ontario have increased more than 3-fold over the past 2 decades. Furthermore, these deaths are clustered among younger Ontarians; in 2010, 1 in 8 deaths among those aged 25 to 34 years were related to opioids. This has led to considerable burden due to loss of life. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Johns Hopkins / 25.02.2014

Samuel R. Friedman PhD Institute of Infectious Disease Research National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. New York, NY Department of Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Interview with: Samuel R. Friedman PhD Institute of Infectious Disease Research National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. Ny, NY Department of Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Friedman: The main finding is that programs that helped protect people who inject drugs from HIV and those that helped them to get medical care seem to be associated with less HIV disease and less death related to HIV disease among the heterosexual population of large United States metropolitan areas. This is important.  Drug users in the US are widely despised, and their has been a lot of political opposition to programs like syringe exchange and drug abuse treatment. Our findings show that these programs are associated with better health and less death in the broader population.  It makes more sense to help people--even those you despise--stay uninfected, and to get medical care, than to restrict or attack programs for them. (more…)