Brain abnormalities in adolescents with substance abuse & conduct disorders

The scientists, including collaborators at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Maryland, studied 20 adolescent boys. On average they had been on probation 139 of the last 180 days; 19 of the 20 had the psychiatric diagnosis of conduct disorder, and all had diagnoses of substance use disorder. They had been abstinent, however, an average of about five weeks when studied. They were compared with 20 other boys who did not have serious antisocial or drug problems, but who were of similar age, ethnicity, and home neighborhoods.

All played a computerized risk-taking game that repeatedly presented a choice between a cautious and a risky behavior: press the left button and always win one cent, or press the right button and either win five cents or lose ten cents. The scientists examined brain activation with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as the boys decided to press right or left, and then as they experienced wins or losses after right presses.

Brain activation differed dramatically in the two groups. The anterior cingulate cortex monitors changing rewards and punishments, and then sends that information to another brain region (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), which regulates one’s choices among possible behaviors. During decision-making, antisocial boys had significantly less brain activity than normals in both of those regions, and also in other decision-making areas (orbitofrontal cortex, amygdala, insula).


95% of e-Cigarette Users Find It Helpful in Quitting

Emphysema Lung - Serious Yuckage.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Public Health polled 81 users and former users of the devices, finding that although the majority was happy with them, several concerns remain unaddressed. [...]

Almost all of the respondents (95%) had found e-cigarettes at least somewhat helpful to stop smoking. However, users were concerned about potential toxicity. Poor quality, lack of reliability and frequent failures were also mentioned by several of the people surveyed.

That’s some pretty impressive feedback. I don’t personally smoke, but I could see how being better able to control your dose could help. Then again, because e-cigarettes are generally cheaper than a pack of cigs I might imagine that it could potentially increase the amount of smoking (conceivably).

Though, anecdotally, a lot of forums seem to suggest that in practice this often isn’t what happens (thankfully) — obligatory forum comments:

“My way of quitting is changing. And I think that I can do that with the e-cig.

I love mine. I have gone from 5 packs per week to maybe 2-3. I did it without the cravings, without “needing” something. I hope to be completely tobacco cigarette free soon. And eventually I want to get down to nicotine free cartridges.” [...]

“I’ve been tobacco-free for four months with my “e-cig”. These are a blessing to nicotine addicts. No fire, no smoke, no smell. I feel great, no longer cough in the morning.”

It’s important to note e-Cigarettes aren’t approved as “smoking cessation devices.” Most of the forum threads I’m reading seem to suggest that it reduced how “winded they are,” coughing, and being able to cut their dosage a bit. I think the logic is there — after all, if you did switch to e-cigarettes from regular tobacco you’re at least cutting back on a large portion of the chemicals even if you are still inhaling nicotine. Nicotine, however, itself is still carcinogenic. Most people seem to suggest that they were able to immediately switch from burning to the e-cigarette method over night, which while probably still a step in the right direction, is still maintaining a health damaging habit.

Unfortunately, there is some legal ambiguity on the front for e-Cigarettes. Hopefully we’ll see solid research instead of a swift ban.

95% Quote Source

e-Cigarette Users Find It Helpful in Quitting

Success and setbacks for cocaine vaccine

Cocaine addicts take cocaine vaccine, then go broke – “After the vaccine, doing cocaine was a very disappointing experience for them,” said Kosten, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Nobody overdosed, but some of them had 10 times more cocaine coursing through their systems than researchers had encountered before, according to Kosten. He said some of the addicts reported to researchers that they had gone broke buying cocaine from multiple drug dealers, hoping to find a variety that would get them high. “

I’m way more entertained than I probably should be.