NIH-Funded Mouse Study Sheds Light on Neural Risks Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

pregnant
Prenatal exposure to even low doses of alcohol may lead to severe and highly variable deficits in the brain of a fetus, according to a new study conducted in mice. Researchers report that the unpredictable nature of the deficits may be due to inconsistencies in how fetal brain cells activate a protective response to alcohol and other harmful compounds. The new findings may help explain the range of behavioral and learning deficits and other symptoms observed in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and other congenital brain disorders. The study, supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is now online in Nature Communications. FASD is an umbrella term for a range of effects caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD may experience growth retardation, facial abnormalities, and organ damage, including to the brain, which can result in...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
984 Hits
0 Comments

NIH Findings Link Aldosterone with Alcohol Use Disorder

24230637
A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute to alcohol use disorder (AUD). The novel research, conducted in collaboration with a team of investigators in the United States and Europe, appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry . Aldosterone helps regulate electrolyte and fluid balance by binding to mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs), which are located throughout the body. In the brain, MRs are mainly located in the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex -- two key brain areas involved in the development and maintenance of AUD. In AUD, amygdala dysfunction heightens activation of brain stress systems resulting in anxiety and other negative emotions, while disruption of the prefrontal cortex impairs executive control systems involved in the ability to make decisions and regulate one's actions, emotions, and...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
845 Hits
0 Comments

NIH to Launch Alcohol Clinical Trial Paid for by Manufacturers

Drunk
The New York Times recently ran a story announcing that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is starting a $100 million clinical trial to test whether a drink a day really does prevent heart attacks. And the trial will be paid for by Five companies that are among the world’s largest alcoholic beverage manufacturers — Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Carlsberg. These manufacturers have so far pledged almost $70 million to a foundation that raises money for the National Institutes of Health, according to Margaret Murray, the director of the Global Alcohol Research Program at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which will oversee the study. Recent stories have noted that moderate drinking is supposedly good for the heart. However, this has concept has never rigorously tested. In fact, new research has linked even modest alcohol consumption to increases in breast cancer and changes in the...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1526 Hits
0 Comments

Long-Term Anabolic Steroid Use Linked to Damage to Heart and Arteries

88581571
New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that long-term exposure to anabolic-androgenic steroids may be associated with substantial impairment of the heart, including a reduction in pumping performance and damage to the arteries. The observational study assessed a sample of male weightlifters age 34-54, comparing men who used anabolic steroids with non-users. Seventy-one percent of the steroid users had impairment of their heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently, compared to non-users, who had largely normal blood pumping capability. In addition, users had significantly higher coronary plaque volume than non-users. The authors suggest that long-term anabolic steroid use may represent a clinically substantial and largely unrecognized public health problem. The study indicates the need for improved awareness among clinicians who can discuss the potential adverse cardiovascular effects of steroids with patients and provide referrals to interventions as needed. Source: "Cardiovascular Toxicity of Illicit Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid Use"...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
593 Hits
0 Comments

Beta Testing Begins for NIH’s All of Us Research Program

won_pmi_allofus_group_blue2x
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently announced that they have begun enrolling the first participants as beta testers of the All of Us Research Program . The mission of the All of Us Research Program is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all. The process commenced in July of 2016, when the NIH assembled a nationwide team of universities, medical centers, and technology companies to enroll participants and collect data and blood and urine samples. Preliminary pilot studies and focus groups were completed in order to learn from members of the public about their interests and questions concerning research participation. NIH then developed a research protocol, including an initial set of surveys. Additional investments were made in a state-of-the-art biobank and built “big data” IT systems to transfer and store data, with safeguards in place to keep participants’ information private and...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
731 Hits
0 Comments

NIH Announces Partnerships With Drug Companies to Create New Addiction Treatments

pill-bottle-pile
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will partner with drug companies to spur research on new treatments for opioid addiction and pain medications that are not addictive, according to The Wall Street Journal . In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine , NIH Director Francis S. Collins and Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the NIH will join with drug companies to launch an initiative in three scientific areas: developing better overdose-reversal and prevention interventions to reduce mortality, saving lives for future treatment and recovery; finding new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid addiction; and finding safe, effective, nonaddictive interventions to manage chronic pain. Collins and Volkow called for stronger versions of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to counteract painkillers such as fentanyl and carfentanil, which are much more potent than heroin.
Rate this blog entry:
1366 Hits
0 Comments

Researchers Identify Brain Circuits That Help People Cope with Stress

Researchers Identify Brain Circuits That Help People Cope with Stress
Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has identified brain patterns in humans that appear to underlie "resilient coping," the healthy emotional and behavioral responses to stress that help some people handle stressful situations better than others. People encounter stressful situations and stimuli everywhere, every day, and studies have shown that long-term stress can contribute to a broad array of health problems. However, some people cope with stress better than others, and scientists have long wondered why. The new study, by a team of researchers at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, is now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This important finding points to specific brain adaptations that predict resilient responses to stress," said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of NIH and a supporter of the study. "The findings also indicate that we...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
1193 Hits
0 Comments

Almost Six Million U.S. Adults Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder in Past Year

Almost Six Million U.S. Adults Experienced Marijuana Use Disorder in Past Year
Almost six million American adults experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year, according to a study by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Symptoms of marijuana use disorder include cravings, developing a tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms, including inability to sleep, nervousness, anger, or depression, within a week of stopping heavy use, according to Medical Daily . The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry , found 6.3 percent of adults acquire a dependence on marijuana at some point in their lives, and 2.5 percent of adults have experienced marijuana use disorder in the past year. The researchers interviewed more than 36,000 adults about their drug and alcohol use, and related psychiatric conditions. They found marijuana use disorder is about twice as common in men than women. Younger people are much more likely than those over 45 to experience the disorder. The researchers note cannabis dependence...
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
2276 Hits
0 Comments

Spotlight on Alcohol Use and Older Adults

Spotlight on Alcohol Use and Older Adults
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that adults of any age can have problems with alcohol. In general, older adults don't drink as much as younger people, but they can still have trouble with drinking. As people get older, their bodies change. They can develop health problems or chronic diseases. They may take more medications than they used to. All of these changes can make alcohol use a problem for older adults A recent article in the Palm Beach Post noted that older Americans are collectively becoming one of the nation’s biggest abuse problems, and this is according to several recent studies. This population is even outpacing binge-drinking college kids whose drinking habits have long been a documented concern. According to a 2014 study in the peer-reviewed specialty journal, Addiction , there are an estimated 2.8 million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse....
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
4690 Hits
0 Comments