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 New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>