Nav: Home

Relevant social stimuli may reduce interest in drugs

November 15, 2019

Researchers of the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Malaga (UMA), specialized in addictive disorders, have demonstrated in an animal model that the presence of a relevant social stimulus reduces interest in cocaine.

These members of the "Neuropsychopharmacology Applied to Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders" group of the Institute of Biomedical Research in Malaga (IBIMA), have evidenced that providing animals with a positive and relevant stimulus, like social interaction with another animal, may diminish the preference towards this drug.

For this study, they have used the so-called "place preference conditioning paradigm" that, according to researcher Patricia Sampedro, main author of the study, enables them to study the animal preference towards two different contexts, one of them paired with cocaine administration and the opposite where the animal receives saline. "After four days of observation, we detected that the animals preferred spending more time in the drug-paired compartment", says the expert.

Positive stimulus

In the next stage of the study, the scientists introduced a juvenile mouse, a highly positive stimulus for mice, into the compartment where the animals had received saline and analyzed whether they preferred spending more time in this place or in the compartment they had associated with the drug effect. "We realized that most of the animals preferred spending more time in this social stimulus to exploring the context where they had received cocaine", says Sampedro, who emphasizes, therefore, the key role that social interaction plays in reducing cocaine-seeking and the salience of the drug.

The conclusions of this scientific article, published in Journal of Psychopharmacology, show similar results both in animal models that live independently and those that live in group, also considering the novelty factor.

"We carried out the same experiment but using an inanimate object as stimulus -a Rubik's cube- and, this time, we observed that the animals preferred the drug-paired compartment, which means that the social stimulus is in itself a highly relevant component to catch their attention", she concludes.

This research group proposes social support as a key tool in the treatment of drug addiction. In future stages, the researchers seek to progress in new strategies that reduce the attractiveness of the drug and change preferences towards healthier activities, such as physical exercise.
-end-
The "Neuropsychopharmacology Applied to Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Disorders" group is led by the professors of the UMA Faculty of Psychology Luis Javier Santín and Carmen Pedraza. Patricia Sampedro, main author of this article, is Post-Doctoral Researcher Juan de la Cierva of the Department of Psychobiology and Methodology of Behavioral Sciences. Her main lines of study include the neurobiology of addiction and the impact of behavioral strategies on substance use disorders.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Sampedro-Piquero, P.; Ávila-Gámiz, F.; Moreno-Fernández, R.D.; Castilla-Ortega, E.; Santín, L.J. (2019). The presence of a social stimulus reduces cocaine-seeking in a place preference conditioning paradigm. Journal of Psychopharmacology, doi: 10.1177/0269881119874414.

University of Malaga

Related Cocaine Articles:

Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine
Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.
Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression
Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.
Blocking dopamine weakens effects of cocaine
Blocking dopamine receptors in different regions of the amygdala reduces drug seeking and taking behavior with varying longevity, according to research in rats published in eNeuro.
Born to run: just not on cocaine
A study finds a surprising response to cocaine in a novel strain of mutant mice -- they failed to show hyperactivity seen in normal mice when given cocaine and didn't run around.
Cocaine adulterant may cause brain damage
People who regularly take cocaine cut with the animal anti-worming agent levamisole demonstrate impaired cognitive performance and a thinned prefrontal cortex.
Setting affects pleasure of heroin and cocaine
Drug users show substance-specific differences in the rewarding effects of heroin versus cocaine depending on where they use the drugs, according to a study published in JNeurosci.
One in 10 people have traces of cocaine or heroin on their fingerprints
Scientists have found that drugs are now so prevalent that 13 percent of those taking part in a test were found to have traces of class A drugs on their fingerprints -- despite never using them.
Alcohol makes rats more vulnerable to compulsive cocaine use
Rats given alcohol for 10 days prior to cocaine exhibited enhanced cocaine-addiction behavior, including continuing to seek cocaine despite receiving a brief electric shock when they did so, a new study reports.
Cocaine use during adolescence is even more harmful than during adulthood
Brazilian scientists found that addicts who began using cocaine before and after the age of 18 showed differences in sustained attention and working memory, among other brain functions.
Cocaine addiction leads to build-up of iron in brain
Cocaine addiction may affect how the body processes iron, leading to a build-up of the mineral in the brain, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.
More Cocaine News and Cocaine Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.