Printer Friendly

Estrogen tied to drug vulnerability. (Hormones).

Estrogen may make the brain more vulnerable to addiction, with the effects of heightened susceptibility persisting even in the hormone's absence, according to a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, study for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "These new findings suggest that, when it comes to drug use. Women should be extremely cautious, especially younger women who may be experiencing major hormonal swings at just the same time in their lives when many of their peers are first experimenting with nicotine, cocaine, and other addictive substances." Cautions biopsychologist Jill B. Becker.

A series of studies on approximately 200 rats showing that female ones who received estrogen as well as cocaine over a period of three weeks exhibit 20-50% more "sensitization" than either female rats who did not receive estrogen or males. Sensitization was measured by quantifying repetitive movements of the head and forelimbs, and turning in circles. Drug sensitization is thought to cause craving for a drug like cocaine, Becker notes. For example, rats who are sensitized after repeated drug doses learn to self-administer cocaine faster and at lower doses than other animals. These changes in behavior persisted after the female rats, all of whose ovaries had been surgically removed, stopped receiving estrogen.

"We know from other studies that sensitization to cocaine results in structural changes in the brain that persist for some time," Becker indicates. "Our results suggest that estrogen not only affects the acute response to cocaine, but also intensifies the long-term changes that occur in the brain. These results are important for our understanding of the basic neural processes that lead to drug addiction, and for our understanding of why some individuals may be more at risk than others."
COPYRIGHT 2003 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:medical research
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2003
Words:282
Previous Article:Women must read labels carefully. (Medication).
Next Article:Minorities less likely to survive cancer. (Mortality).
Topics:


Related Articles
Hormone therapy: issues of the heart.
Designer Estrogens.
Estrogen, NSAID Use for Alzheimer's Is Premature.
The rise and fall of hormone therapy: what began decades ago with promises of eternal youth for women ended last year with troubling research...
High levels of estrogen associated with breast cancer recurrence.
Bioidentical hormones, estriol, and the FDA.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters