Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Understanding ‘P’ addiction

Understanding ‘P’ addiction

A Victoria University of Wellington graduate has found new ways in which methamphetamine use can alter the brain, as part of the PhD in Biomedical Science he was awarded last week.

Dr Peter Bosch focused his research on how the brain’s natural reward pathways are strongly stimulated following exposure to methamphetamine.

“The brain reward system is a group of cells that send signals when we do anything rewarding, such as exercising, eating food or drinking water,” he says. “Drugs of addiction—like amphetamines or cocaine—target the reward system, activating that particular part of the brain."

Although New Zealanders are among the highest users of methamphetamine worldwide, Dr Bosch says the genetic and cellular modifications induced by the drug are not completely understood.

“When it came to putting together my PhD project, I really wanted it to have a New Zealand angle. There’s not a huge amount of research on methamphetamine compared to other drugs of abuse, like cocaine.”

During his research, Dr Bosch studied many thousands of genes and proteins within the reward system to identify what was altered following exposure to the highly addictive drug.

“We tried to study as many genes and proteins as we could, and then see what changed the most significantly following methamphetamine. We saw a number of genes and proteins which had previously been associated with the drug, but also ones which hadn’t been associated with it before.”

Dr Bosch says identifying these previously undescribed genetic and protein changes represents an exciting target for future drug-based therapies in the treatment of addiction, including relapses, which are a major challenge.

“The biggest trouble for researchers is trying to prevent someone from relapsing, which occurs in 80-90 percent of cases for psycho-stimulant addictions.

“There's something going on in terms of how the brain has responded to the drug, that sets the brain up to relapse at another stage in life. By identifying the genes that have been altered, we can explore possible reasons for why some people are more vulnerable to drug relapses.”

Over the past couple of months, Dr Bosch has been putting together projects that Victoria honours and master’s students will be able to carry out, furthering the discoveries he has made.

Having completed undergraduate and honours studies at Victoria, Dr Bosch says he had an idea of what was possible in his three and a half year doctorate.

“I collaborated with the School of Psychology, because of the work they've done on addiction, and was also able to use the fantastic equipment we have in the School of Biological Sciences.

“That was the reason I first got started—because I knew I could do everything that I wanted, and that the University had all the expertise within quite a small distance.”
Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news