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

 

Trade Agreements: TPP Minus US Starting To Gain Ground

The Japanese government is picking up the pace on reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment deal, with talks scheduled next month among the 11 countries left in the pact after the withdrawal by the US after the election of president Donald Trump. More>>

ALSO:

PACER:

Prices Up 2.2%: Annual Inflation Highest In Over Five Years

"Rising petrol prices along with the annual rise in cigarette and tobacco tax lifted inflation," prices senior manager Jason Attewell said. "Petrol prices in New Zealand are closely linked to global oil prices, and cigarettes and tobacco taxes rise in the March quarter each year". More>>

ALSO:

Undertaxed? NZ Income Tax Rate Second Lowest Among Developed Nations

New Zealand workers pay the second smallest portion of their income to the government among developed nations and less than half the average ratio of their Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development peers. More>>

ALSO:

Cyclone Cook: Round Up Of This Week’s Weather

One of the significant impacts this week was flooding due to excessive rainfall amounts. Rainfall amounts topped out at 350mm over the past 60 hours in parts of northwest Nelson, with 200mm+ measurements recorded about Coromandel Peninsula, and between 150-200mm in the Kaimai Ranges. Rainfall amounts of between 30-50mm were commonplace elsewhere. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier: Batten Down The Hatches For Cyclone Cook

Although fast-moving, Cyclone Cook will be destructive and MetService Expert Meteorologists have issued Severe Wind Warnings for the whole of the North Island apart from Northland... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news