Alcoholism & Substance Abuse

//Alcoholism & Substance Abuse
11 09, 2019

Evaluating Oxytocin in Opioid Withdrawal: A Translational Study | Dr. Zoe McElligott | $50,000

Evaluating oxytocin in opioid withdrawal: a translational study Award: $50,000 As the opioid epidemic continues to spread in the United States, it’s important to discover new and more effective treatments. Using a preclinical model of opioid use disorder (OUD) in mice, we will investigate the ability of the hormone oxytocin to alleviate the physical opioid withdrawal symptoms, sleep dysregulation, and protracted affective behaviors. Need/Problem: e are currently experiencing a global opioid epidemic; however, the prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) is especially visible in the US, where drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. Individuals who are dependent on opioids continue to take these drugs despite the negative consequences to their lives and the risk of death. A major factor driving this persistent drug taking is because opioid withdrawal is both a physically and mentally traumatic [...]

16 04, 2019

Reversing the pharmacological effects of cocaine by allopregnanolone | Robinson

Reversing the pharmacological effects of cocaine by allopregnanolone Need/Problem: There is a critical need for pharmacological therapeutics to treat stimulant addiction, for which there are no approved drugs. Grant Summary: This project will test whether allopregnanolone, a neurosteroid made in the brain, can counteract key effects of stimulants. Because of their few side effects, neurosteroids may be a novel and effective way to treat stimulant use disorder. Goals and Projected Outcomes: A growing body of basic and clinical evidence suggests that neurosteroids are promising therapeutic strategies for stimulant addiction, but critical pharmacological studies are lacking. This project aims to determine the ability of allopregnanolone to reverse the pharmacological effect of cocaine in an animal model. We hypothesize that allopregnanolone will reverse the effect of cocaine to enhance dopamine release and stimulate locomotion in awake rats. The resulting data will [...]

9 07, 2018

Oxytocin Effects on Cocaine-induced Maternal Neglect | Grewen | $40,000

Oxytocin Effects on Cocaine-induced Maternal Neglect Award: $40,000 Need/Problem:  At least 1% to 3% of women in the U.S. use cocaine during pregnancy. Prenatal cocaine abuse is linked to problems with mother-infant bonding and attachment, including child neglect and abuse. This vulnerability may derive, in part, from altered maternal responses to infant cries and other signals, and from reduced maternal nurturing behaviors such as holding, touching and interacting with infant. Mothers who have used cocaine during pregnancy report difficulty interacting with their infants, express subtle hostility (insensitivity and irritability) during feeding and play periods, and perceive infant cries as less arousing and requiring less maternal intervention. They tend to pick up and hold their infants less often than other mothers, even though their infants cry more. These alterations in early mothering behaviors parallel those seen in animal studies of [...]

9 07, 2018

Defining, Mining, and Reversing Neurocircuit Adaptions in Addiction | Stuber | $100,000

Defining, Mining, and Reversing Neurocircuit Adaptions in Addiction Award: $100,000 Addiction alters the signaling and function of many neurons in the brain. Because drug or alcohol abuse alter our neurocircuitry—the pathways of our brains—reversing the effects of addiction means reversing the patterns our brains learn from substance abuse. With this study, Dr. Stuber proposes to gather data identifying the neurocircuitry of addiction by monitoring the activity of hundreds to thousands of neurons during the transition to addiction. Garret Stuber, Ph.D. Need/Problem:  Addiction and related disorders exact a tremendous toll of society, but strategies to define and assess the therapeutic efficacy are currently costly, slow, and difficult to develop. Grant Summary:  Addiction alters the signaling and function of many neurons in the brain, but strategies to normalize these maladaptive patterns of activity are [...]

9 07, 2018

Alcohol intoxication mediated through medial septal circuitry | Knapp | $39,210

Alcohol intoxication mediated through medial septal circuitry Award: $39,210 In this research, researchers will use a novel mouse line to test the involvement of a specific neural circuit in brain in controlling alcohol intoxication. Selected cells in this circuit will be manipulated in an attempt to enhance or diminish the magnitude of intoxication. If the role of the circuit and cells can be shown, future work would expand the analysis of the neural connections to this circuit with the goal of inspiring novel avenues for therapeutic intervention in alcohol used disorders. Darin Knapp, Ph.D. Need/Problem: A complete understanding of the brain mechanisms of alcohol intoxication has remained elusive.  Research devoted to defining the neurocircuits of intoxication with state of the art neurobiological tools offers an opportunity to make advances in our understanding. [...]

9 07, 2018

Testing oxytocin treatment of opioid withdrawal | Pedersen | $40,808

Testing oxytocin treatment of opioid withdrawal Award: $40,808 Opioid use disorders have emerged as a public health crisis over the past 20 years; opioid overdose is now the leading cause of death for United States adults 25-44 years old. Aside from the initial difficulties posed by opioid addiction—which is notoriously difficult to treat—opioid drug use also complicates mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression. Dr. Pedersen and his team have already shown that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OT), administered intranasally, can block withdrawal and diminish drinking in alcohol-addicted subjects. Now they hope to show that it can be effective in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Cort Pedersen


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