Memory Loss Found in Sons of Cocaine-Using Fathers

Memory Loss Found in Sons of Cocaine-Using Fathers
Fathers who use cocaine at the time of conceiving a child may be putting their sons at risk of learning disabilities and memory loss. The findings of the animal study were published online in Molecular Psychiatry by a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers say the findings reveal that drug abuse by fathers - separate from the well-established effects of cocaine use in mothers - may negatively impact cognitive development in their male offspring. An article in Medical News Today noted that the research showed that cocaine use in dads caused epigenetic changes in the brain of their sons, thereby changing the expression of genes important for memory formation. D-serine, a molecule essential for memory, was depleted in male rats whose father took cocaine and replenishing the levels of D-serine in the sons' hippocampus improved learning in these animals.
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New Diagnostics for Roadside Testing

New Diagnostics for Roadside Testing
According to Medical News Today , academics have developed a new diagnostic test for cocaine and benzoylecgonine (the main metabolite for cocaine) in urine and oral fluid. The research, which was conducted with collaborators Advion Ltd and Surrey Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is published in Analytical Methods . The academics in the University of Surrey's Department of Chemistry were able to prove that it is possible to confidently detect levels of cocaine and their metabolites using a compact 'mass spectrometer' (a chemical-based analytical technique). The test was found to offer a level of sensitivity below the cut-off level normally used for oral fluid drug testing, meaning that it can detect even low levels of cocaine in a person's urine or oral fluid. The technique potentially offers an effective solution for scenarios where a rapid test is required. This could include roadside testing by police of motorists, and also drug...
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Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use

Regulating Availability of Cocaine and Meth Ingredients Helped Reduce Drug Use
A new study suggests restrictions put into place by the U.S. government on a chemical needed to produce cocaine have led to a reduced use of the drug in the past decade. Mexican police action against a company importing pseudoephedrine, which is used to make meth, also contributed to the decline. The U.S. government cracked down on the availability of the chemical used in making cocaine, sodium permanganate, in 2006, UPI reports. Since then, the number of people using cocaine in the past year decreased by 1.9 million people, or 32 percent. After the Mexican government closed down a company accused of importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, the supply of meth was reduced significantly, researchers report in the journal Addiction . The researchers reported a 35 percent decrease in past-year use of meth after that action.
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New Research Suggests that Cocaine and Meth May Impair Moral Judgment

New Research Suggests that Cocaine and Meth May Impair Moral Judgment
Cocaine and methamphetamine may impair a person’s moral judgment, suggests new research conducted on prison inmates. The drugs damage the parts of the brain involved in moral processing and evaluating emotions, according to U.S. News & World Report . The study included 131 prison inmates who regularly used cocaine and meth, as well as 80 inmates who did not use the drugs. Their brains were scanned while they made decisions requiring moral reasoning. The findings are published in Psychopharmacology. Up to 75 percent of U.S. inmates have substance abuse problems, according to a journal news release.
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