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Fruit Flies Take Off On Drugs

Fruit Flies Take Off On Drugs

Speed Has Similar Effects On Humans

By Marietta Gross - Scoop Media Auckland

The synthetic drug Speed effects fruit flies similarly to humans: The insects are more awake, anxious and are courting feverishly - although most often without success – for a sex partner. That's the bizarre findings of a report by US-scientists from the Neuroscientific Institute San Diego in the Journal “Current Biology. The study demonstrates the decisive role of the neurotransmitter dopamine for the regulation of sleep, waking hours and stimulation, writes researcher Ralph Greenspan.

The stimulant Methamphetamine enfolds its analeptic effect via dopamine, which plays a role at various brain functions. Greenspan and his colleagues modified the fruit flies in a way that their dopamine cells were turned off. Then they compared the effect of the synthetic drug on these insects and on flies that were not modified.

The reactions of the animals suggested that simple body functions such as sleep and motion are directly regulated by the dopamine amount while more complex functions such as optic perception function best only at a certain level of dopamine.

The addictive substance Speed is not only abused by long distance truck drivers and party people, but has also been applied medically for a while. But its use for the treatment of attention deficiencies, narcolepsy and adiposity is said to be limited. In the 1940s and 50s a number of Japanese workers were given Speed by their companies in order to boost their productivity.


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