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Dopamine Discovery, Reduced Depression from Specific Diet, and Meth Addiction Rises in Michigan
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
Dopamine Discovery Could Lead to Addiction Drugs
A team of researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered a new piece in the puzzle of dopamine. The discovery may facilitate the development of drugs for cocaine addiction and ADHD and is most likely to change the general notion of how dopamine is removed from the brain.
The study sheds new light on the mechanism transporting dopamine to the nerve cells. “The mechanism we have been researching is the so-called dopamine transporter (DAT). DAT controls dopamine signalling in the brain by removing the released dopamine and thus turning off the signal. DAT can be described as a molecular vacuum cleaner. Dopamine is key to our ability to control the communication between nerves in the part of the brain known as the reward centre. For example, it is dopamine that makes us feel happy when we do something we enjoy.”
“This new insight into how DAT works may enable us to design better drugs for ADHD and schizophrenia, which are conditions related to the level of dopamine in the brain.”
For the entire system controlling dopamine to work properly, the motor itself has to work. DAT is the part of the motor that makes sure dopamine is removed from the synapse. This stops the dopamine signal, paving the way for a new one. It also means that the released dopamine can be reused, and that we do not use up our entire stock of dopamine.
Therefore, the researchers are eager to develop drugs that target DAT and ensure the engine continues to work properly.
ADHD drugs are a type of amphetamine that targets and blocks DAT. This means that not all dopamine returns to the cell for reuse, and we may have difficulty feeling rewarded. It is even worse with a substance such as cocaine which completely blocks DAT, preventing all dopamine from returning to the cell. This means that the nerve cells will continue to want more cocaine until there is no more dopamine left and you start to feel depressed.
New Study Reveals This Particular Diet Can Help Lessen Depression Symptoms
Mental health disorders can have multiple causes and can be difficult to treat, since not everyone responds to the first-line interventions. However, new and exciting research is demonstrating a very promising correlation between a healthy diet and improved mental health.
Australian researchers at the University of Technology Sydney performed a randomized control trial for 12 weeks to assess how the Mediterranean diet would impact depression symptoms in young men. A Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, oily fish, lean meats, healthy fats, and whole grains. Processed food, alcohol, red meat, and sugar are kept very low, if present at all.
Throughout the course of the trial, many of the young men were willing (even eager) to change their diet. Those who were assigned a Mediterranean diet worked with a nutritionist to move away from their original diets and incorporate more “Mediterranean-friendly” foods.
The results were incredible: young men who adhered to a Mediterranean diet as prescribed experienced a significant boost in mental health, and many saw their depression symptoms subside — without any other intervention aside from the diet change.
Meth addiction is rising in northern Michigan communities. Here's why.
Although data is still incomplete for 2021, drug overdose deaths were projected to rise 9.31% last year, according to the CDC. In 2020, there was a 214% rise in methamphetamine seized, and a 59% increase in fentanyl, the top two contributors to overdose deaths in the U.S.
“Meth is the most common drug right now,” said Charlevoix County Sheriff Chuck Vondra, explaining how a large part of his department’s resources are allocated for drug enforcement.
Most addicts ingest 1-2 grams of meth a day, at a cost of $100 per gram, according to Vondra and the county’s drug enforcement detectives. This cost can quickly erode a person’s financial stability and it is also common for users to resort to crimes and drug dealing in order to maintain their habit.
Peter Bucci, chief clinical officer at Harbor Hall, a substance abuse treatment facility, says a reason for the increase in meth use is due to a decrease in the availability of prescription opioids.
“A few other factors gathered from sessions over the last three years tell me that the need to work, cash on hand, and getting rid of depressive symptoms all contribute to the shift,” he added.
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