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Modafinil May Be Addictive

By |June 25, 2009|Ethics, Health, News, Research|

Modafinil is a popular drug used by people who want or need to stay alert. It has become a popular stimulant, used by soldiers to stay awake and by citizens looking for a safe brain boost, including one in 10 researchers. The FDA issued their “Approved” stamp for it to be used for treating narcolepsy and sleep disorders in 1998. At that time, scientists claimed that it did not change levels of dopamine in those who took the drug. Increases in dopamine levels are considered a chemical signature of possible addictiveness to a drug. Since its FDA approval, modafinil is now being used “off-label” to treat depression, Parkinson’s disease and fatigue.

However, the March 2009 issue of JAMA published this study;

Volkow N, et. al., Effects of Modafinil on Dopamine and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain., JAMA, Vol. 301, No. 11, March 18, 2009.

You can read more on this report at the Wired Science Blog.

Melanin Production and Tobacco Use, Dependence, and Exposure

By |May 9, 2009|News, Research|

The June 2009 issue of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior includes a study looking at a link between melanin production as a result of UV exposure and tobacco use in African Americans. Although the findings established a correlation, repeated studies are needed to verify their results. They go on to hypothesize that this correlation may be responsible for the stronger addiction to tobacco use that has been previously noted in darker skinned individuals. From the abstract;

Link between facultative melanin and tobacco use among African Americans
Gary King, Valerie B. Yerger, Guy-Lucien Whembolua, Robert B. Bendel, Rick Kittles, Eric T. Moolchan

“The results of this analysis support the hypothesis of a positive association between melanin levels and tobacco use, dependence, and exposure among African American smokers.”

The full abstract can be read by clicking on the study’s title above.