Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novelty Lures Lab Rats from Cocaine-Paired Settings, Hinting at New Treatments for Recovering Addicts

03.02.2010
The brain’s innate interest in the new and different may help trump the power of addictive drugs, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In controlled experiments, novelty drew cocaine-treated rats away from the place they got cocaine.

Novelty could help break the vicious cycle of treatment and relapse, especially for the many addicts with novelty-craving, risk-taking personalities, the authors said. Drug-linked settings hold particular sway over recovering addicts, which may account in part for high rates of relapse.

In the multi-stage study, Carmela Reichel, PhD, and Rick Bevins, PhD, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, trained rats to prefer one side of a large Plexiglas apparatus by injecting them with one of three different doses of cocaine before placing them in that side. For the next eight days, the researchers alternated placing rats in one side or the other, injecting cocaine before placing them on one side, or injecting saline solution before placing them on the other.

This simple procedure left the rats, when drug free and given a choice, significantly more likely to visit the side where they had felt the rewarding effects of cocaine, according to the report in the February issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.

In the next stage, for another eight days, the researchers tried to break the tie between drug and place by introducing novelty. Now, when rats were placed into the saline-paired compartment, half found something new there -- a white sock, a little piece of PVC pipe, a plastic scouring pad or balled-up newspaper. The remaining rats were given the same bare compartment as before.

Next, the rats were injected with saline solution instead of cocaine and placed -- on alternate days – in either the side paired with cocaine or with novelty. That would be like recovering addicts going back to the place they took drugs, a major cause of relapse. Alternating placements helped researchers counteract rats’ natural tendency to spend more time in unfamiliar places, and equalize the time they spent in each context.

Finally, to test whether novelty could still compete with drug-linked cues, drug-free rats were placed between compartments to see where they would go. Rats that had been trained on 7.5 and 20, but not 30, cocaine milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of weight and then given novel objects spent equal time on both sides. That is, they went back and forth between the places they had experienced both cocaine and novelty. Rats that did not receive the novel objects spent more time where they had experienced the effects of cocaine.

Drugged rats that had been trained on 7.5 mg/kg of cocaine and then given novel objects also gave both sides equal attention. However, rats that had been trained on 20 or 30 mg/kg of cocaine and then given novel objects still preferred the cocaine-paired over the novelty side.

Given the results of the drug-free tests, the findings suggested that employing something new and intriguing could work with drug-free, recovering addicts who are mild but not heavy users, the authors wrote.

In a second experiment, the researchers repeated the procedure with just one dose of cocaine, 10 mg/kg of weight, to test the effect’s staying power one, 14 or 28 days after establishing the preference for the cocaine-paired side. Two weeks later, novelty still changed compartment choice for drug-free rats. Four weeks later, however, none of the rats showed a particular preference for either compartment.

“We identified a window of opportunity for conditioned rewards to compete for control over choice behavior,” at least among rats, the authors wrote.

By understanding how long and how well novelty can compete with the allure of addicting drugs, researchers may start to consider using it in the real world. The human equivalent of new “toys” – such as scuba diving, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and snow skiing -- could work as a behavioral reward. As the researchers pointed out, novelty does not involve medical treatment or side effects, and could be cheaper as well.

“Treatment programs implementing novel rewards targeted to those individuals that have high novelty/sensation seeking tendencies may offer addicts the opportunity (e.g., with vouchers) to participate in one of the activities mentioned previously in hopes of maintaining abstinence,” wrote Reichel and Bevins.

Article: “Competition Between Novelty and Cocaine Conditioned Reward Is Sensitive to Drug Dose and Retention Interval;” Carmela M. Reichel, PhD, and Rick A. Bevins, PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 124, No. 1.

Carmela Reichel can be reached at reichel@musc.edu or at (843) 792 6333.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Public Affairs Office | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.apa.org
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/bne-124-1-141.pdf

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>