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Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking

Mesolimbic pathways

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking. We’ve got to clean our mind from all intoxication of drug addiction

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

From our basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brain’s reward system in the previous postings, we can interrogate it a little bit further in several ways. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathways which are located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathways is an area called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to the nucleus accumbens (thought to be the reward center). The neurotransmitter most commonly linked with the mesolimbic system is dopamine. Many people consider dopamine to be the driving force behind the human pursuit of pleasure. The release of dopamine is a pleasurable sensation. The release of dopamine motivates us to repeat behaviors or activities that prompted this release. This system’s purpose was to promote survival by rewarding life-sustaining behaviors such eating and procreation.

All addictive drugs and activities release varying amounts of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens with stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine releasing the most. However, when it comes to drugs like alcohol or heroin, the brain’s own opiate system (endorphins) also gets involved. Doctor Akoury further says that even though different forms of addictions have different effects in the nucleus accumbens, they share one common denominator that they all activate the reward system which in turn motivates us to repeat those behaviors, even though they may be harmful. Besides what we have discussed about the concepts of reward, pleasure, and craving together, it is however very important to appreciate that there is a distinction between pleasure-seeking and drug seeking. Note that pleasure-seeking is all about the pleasurable, rewarding aspect of addiction while drug-seeking refer to the craving aspect of addiction. Dopamine may be more involved in drug-seeking (craving) component of addiction. The opiate (endorphin), GABA, or glutamatergic systems may be more involved in a pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Keeping the brain free from all attacks

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are interrelated, yet distinct. Research has established that natural rewards (food, water, sex) typically lessen their influence on the reward system over time. As a behavior occurs more often, dopamine levels tend to decrease in the process. Psychologists call this habituation. This makes sense. Once you’ve eaten enough food, you don’t need to be rewarded for eating more food. Then you would be eating too much, or too much of one type of food. Therefore everyone needs to take heed of keeping the brain free from all attacks be it from substances or otherwise. Talking to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury should be your starting point. Call and make that appointment today for the commencement of your journey to full recovery from your addiction.

Mesolimbic pathways and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

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Addicted brain

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking

Mesolimbic pathway

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking. Hypothalamus area of the brain and drug addiction.

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

From our basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brains reward system in the previous postings, we can interrogate it a little bit further in several ways. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathway which is located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathway is an area called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to the nucleus accumbens (thought to be the reward center). The neurotransmitter most commonly linked with the mesolimbic system is dopamine. Many people consider dopamine to be the driving force behind the human pursuit of pleasure. The release of dopamine is a pleasurable sensation. The release of dopamine motivates us to repeat behaviors or activities that prompted this release. This system’s purpose was to promote survival by rewarding life sustaining behaviors such eating and procreation.

All addictive drugs and activities release varying amounts of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens with stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine releasing the most. However when it comes to drugs like alcohol or heroin, the brain’s own opiate system (endorphins) also gets involved. Doctor Akoury further says that even though different forms of addictions have different effects in the nucleus accumbens, they share one common denominator that they all activate the reward system which in turn motivates us to repeat those behaviors, even though they may be harmful. Besides what we have discussed about the concepts of reward, pleasure, and craving together, it is however very important to appreciate that there is a distinction between pleasure-seeking and drug seeking. Note that pleasure-seeking is all about the pleasurable, rewarding aspect of addiction while drug-seeking refer to the craving aspect of addiction. Dopamine may be more involved in drug-seeking (craving) component of addiction. The opiate (endorphin), GABA, or glutamatergic systems may be more involved in pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are inter-related, yet distinct. Research has established that natural rewards (food, water, sex) typically lessen their influence on the reward system over time. As a behavior occurs more often, dopamine levels tend to decrease in the process. Psychologists call this habituation. This makes sense. Once you’ve eaten enough food, you don’t need to be rewarded for eating more food. Then you would be eating too much, or too much of one type of food. Therefore everyone needs to take heed of keeping the brain free from all attacks be it from substances or otherwise. Talking to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury should be your starting point. Call and make that appointment today for the commencement of your journey to full recovery from your addiction.

Mesolimbic pathway and drug seeking: Drug cravings to the brain

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Drug seeking and cravings to the brain

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Addictions effect on the brain’s reward system

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain. Ideally drugs are a serious threat to your health and the brain is one of the organs affected the most.

Drug seeking and craving to the brain is very interesting more so when we consider how the brain functions. It is true that the brain has evolved over time in a way that ensures human survival. And in fact our brain’s reward system is part of that survival system. In many instances we often experience an urgent need for food whenever we are starving and generally have a powerful desire for sex too. According to doctor Dalal Akoury MD and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center, the brain’s reward system rewards food and sex because they ensure our survival. Unfortunately, drugs of abuse operate within these reward systems which leads people to experience an urgent need or powerful desire for drugs or addictive activities.

The brain’s reward system has ensured our species survival. You may have not known but food, water, and sex are some of the elements that activate the reward system. Therefore when the brain’s reward center is activated, it releases dopamine. Dopamine then creates a pleasing, enjoyable sensation which then motivates us into repeating these behaviors which are necessary for our survival. The reason why this is happening is because dopamine has rewarded us with a pleasurable feeling. Doctor Akoury recommends that from an evolutionary standpoint of view, it is very helpful to have a reward system that works. Like for instance, imagine that there is very little food and you’re wandering about looking for food. When you finally find something to eat, this triggers your reward system. This pleasing feeling (dopamine “reward”) will become associated with whatever behavior that led you to that food. This causes you to want to repeat that behavior. Moreover, the reward system is closely tied to emotional and subjective memories. If you were successful and found food in a particular place for instance, in the future you will want to look for food in the same location. This reward system increases the likelihood that you will be successful in finding food there the next time. This is because your brain chemicals are rewarding you with a pleasing sensation. It also helps you to remember how and where this pleasant feeling occurred.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: The negative dopamine reward sensation

It will come to you as a surprise that the element that motives your survival is unfortunately the very same reward system that ensures your survival also rewards drug use. Doctor Akoury says that all addictive substances and activities will trigger the release of dopamine which rewards us with a pleasant sensation thereby succeeding in motivating us to continuously indulge in these harmful behaviors. It is nowadays common knowledge that peoples with addiction problems will all it takes to get their drug of choice and in the same way, they continue with their addiction despite the harm it causes to themselves or their loved ones. It is therefore very important to note that all these characteristic of addictive behaviors arise from the brain’s pleasure and rewards centers. Therefore seeking for lasting solutions becomes a must to do for all victims. This may not be a very popular thing owing to the addictiveness of some of these drugs, but nonetheless it is the best option if you want to have a healthy life that is free from all sorts of addiction. You can schedule for an appointment with doctor Dalal Akoury for the commencement of your journey to recovery.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Mesolimbic pathway

We now have a basic understanding of the purpose and functioning of the brain’s reward system. Let’s interrogate it a little bit further. The circuit most associated with pleasure and reward is the mesolimbic pathway which is located in the brainstem. The objective of this area of the brain is primarily concerned with basic survival. Within the mesolimbic pathway is an area called the ventral tegmental area (VTA). The VTA projects to the nucleus accumbens (thought to be the reward center). The neurotransmitter most commonly linked with the mesolimbic system is dopamine. Many people consider dopamine to be the driving force behind the human pursuit of pleasure. The release of dopamine is a pleasurable sensation. The release of dopamine motivates us to repeat behaviors or activities that prompted this release. This system’s purpose was to promote survival by rewarding life sustaining behaviors such eating and procreation.

All addictive drugs and activities release varying amounts of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens with stimulant drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine releasing the most. However when it comes to drugs like alcohol or heroin, the brain’s own opiate system (endorphins) also gets involved. Doctor Akoury further says that even though different forms of addictions have different effects in the nucleus accumbens, they share one common denominator that they all activate the reward system which in turn motivates us to repeat those behaviors, even though they may be harmful. Besides what we have discussed about the concepts of reward, pleasure, and craving together, it is however very important to appreciate that there is a distinction between pleasure-seeking and drug seeking. Note that pleasure-seeking is all about the pleasurable, rewarding aspect of addiction while drug-seeking refer to the craving aspect of addiction. Dopamine may be more involved in drug-seeking (craving) component of addiction. The opiate (endorphin), GABA, or glutamatergic systems may be more involved in pleasure-seeking aspect of addiction too.

Pleasure-seeking and drug-seeking (cravings) are inter-related, yet distinct. Research has established that natural rewards (food, water, sex) typically lessen their influence on the reward system over time. As a behavior occurs more often, dopamine levels tend to decrease in the process. Psychologists call this habituation. This makes sense. Once you’ve eaten enough food, you don’t need to be rewarded for eating more food. Then you would be eating too much, or too much of one type of food. Therefore everyone needs to take heed of keeping the brain free from all attacks be it from substances or otherwise. Talking to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury should be your starting point. Call and make that appointment today for the commencement of your journey to full recovery from your addiction.

Drug seeking and cravings to the brain: Addictions effect on the brain’s reward system

 

 

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Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disorders

Adipose Derived Stem Cells to Treat Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disorders

There are very many neurodegenerative disorders that we humans have to battle with. Some of these neurodegenerative disorders are inflammatory. Inflammation is a common feature in some neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis. Microglial cells, the resident macrophages of the central nervous system, become chronically activated and mediate pathology inducing inflammatory responses. This inflammation may be initiated as an immune response and while it does not cause the disease, it has been shown to aggravate the progression of the inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases. Contrary to what many people think, inflammation does not initiate neurodegenerative disease but there is evidence that chronic inflammation involving microglia and astrocytes contribute to disease progression. The inflammatory response has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and MS. Currently, a major question is whether inhibition of the inflammatory response has the ability to reverse or slow the symptoms of disease.

Typically, inflammation is a defense mechanism against diverse insults, designed to remove noxious agents and to inhibit their detrimental effects. It consists of an astounding range of molecular and cellular mechanisms and an intricate network of controls to keep them in check. In neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation may be triggered by the accumulation of proteins with abnormal conformations or by signals emanating from injured neurons. Given the multiple functions of many inflammatory factors, it has been difficult to pinpoint their roles in specific pathological situations. Studies of genetically modified mice and of molecular pathways in activated glia are beginning to shed light on this issue. Through different studies it has been found that altered expression of different inflammatory factors can either aggravate or counteract neurodegenerative processes. Normally, inflammation should be beneficial but for some reasons inflammation in neurodegenerative disorders can form grounds for aggravation of these neurodegenerative disorders and so a viable means of treatment that should suppress inflammation and inhibit progression of these disorders should be utilized to help in treatment of these inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders.

Adipose Derived Stem Cells

Inflammation and Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. According to a new study, there are markers of inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid that protects the brain and spine from injury. This study linked these markers to symptoms like fatigue, depression and anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease and it is hoped that this discovery may make the treatment of this disease much easier.

This study was led by Lena Brundin who is an associate professor at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. This research was carried out as part of a team from Lund University in Sweden, Skåne University Hospital in Sweden and the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Jacksonville, Florida. The team measured a number of inflammatory markers in fluid samples of patients with Parkinson’s and in a control group without the disease.

“The degree of neuroinflammation was significantly associated with more severe depression, fatigue, and cognitive impairment even after controlling for factors such as age, gender and disease duration.” Prof. Brundin told the press.

However this is not the first study to link brain inflammation to Parkinson’s disease, there are previous studies that have linked it to non-motor symptoms like depression, fatigue and cognitive impairment. These past studies have indicated that inflammation in the brain could drive cell death, and drugs that target this process could offer new treatments to slow progression of the disease. For instance, a study published as far back as 2007 suggested that brain cell death in Parkinson’s may be reduced by blocking enzyme activity.

According to Prof. Brundin most of these previous studies looking at inflammatory markers in the cerebrospinal fluid of Parkinson’s patients have involved only small numbers of patients, often without comparing them to healthy controls. Despite this view, it is still evident that brain inflammation still has a role to play in aggravating neurodegenerative disorders.

Inflammation and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the Central Nervous System that is characterized by demyelination and inflammation. In a nutshell, MS is often described as an inflammatory demyelinating condition. Myelin is a layer of fatty that covers the nerves maintaining their health and flexibility. It is demyelination that causes spasms that are common with MS patients.

Adipose Derived Stem Cells

Adipose derived stem cell therapy for these inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders

Owing to the ability of the stem cells to differentiate many times and form different body cells, they have been used in the past to regenerate or better yet to replace damaged cells in the body and this has made them a target for treatment of vey many conditions, including neurodegenerative disorders.

The stem cell therapy is now being used to grow dopamine producing nerve cells in laboratories to aid the treatment of this disease. The stem cells are majorly used in the labs when the genetic cause of the disease is known. The disease destroys cells but through stem cells therapy, the damaged cells can be replaced by healthy new cells of the same type. There are also researchers who have since done extensive work in applicability of stem cell therapy in treating PD. through research it has been shown that by releasing various kinds of noxious factors such as cytokines or proinflammatory molecules microglia may damage CNS cells. The stem cell therapy can be used to restore the parts of the nervous system that are destroyed as a result of release of cytokines in inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders.

Finally, Neurodegenerative disorders have debilitating effects on patients and should be fought by all means. This is why we at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center are committed to availing help to patients by availing integrative and safe treatment options to all our patients. In case you are troubled by any of these disorders, just call on Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) today and begin your journey to victory against neurodegenerative disorders

Adipose Derived Stem Cells to Treat In Inflammatory Neurodegenerative Disorders

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Methamphetamine Use May Risk Development of Parkinson’s Disease

Methamphetamine Use May Predispose Consumers to Future Development of Parkinson’s Disease

There are several neurodegenerative disorders but it will still not be right for anybody to talk about neurodegenerative disorders without mentioning the Parkinson’s disease. This disorder is the second most common after Alzheimer’s disease and it is affecting approximately ten million people worldwide. The probability of a person suffering from this disease increases with age with most people being diagnosed after the age of 50. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related. These include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking and gait. However, the symptoms worsens as time passes by, these may include cognitive and behavioral problems with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. PD is caused by degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons that project to the striatum. The loss of striatal dopamine is responsible for the major symptoms of the disease. Although a small proportion of cases can be attributed to known genetic factors, most cases of PD are idiopathic. While the etiology of dopaminergic neuronal demise is mysterious, a combination of genetic susceptibilities, age, and environmental factors seems to play a critical role. Dopamine degeneration process in PD involves abnormal protein handling, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, apoptotic processes, and microglial activation or neuroinflammation.

methamphetamine

Studies on animals on methamphetamine toxicity

Studies done on animals have shown that methamphetamine can cause long-term dopamine terminal damage as well as dopamine neuronal body loss. In rodents, repeated administration of methamphetamine causes a decrease in dopaminergic markers such as tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter. Accompanied by a reduction in TH activity, reduced levels of dopamine and its metabolites and decreased levels of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2). These effects occur primarily in the striatum but also in the cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus and hippocampus. Methamphetamine induces neurotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner as do other amphetamine-derivatives like MDMA. Although partial recovery of TH and dopamine transport fibers occurs after methamphetamine administration, methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity is persistent. In mice, the greatest dopaminergic fiber loss is seen 24 hours after methamphetamine administration. Neurotoxic effects persist for more than seven days after methamphetamine exposure and one month after MDMA exposure. Drugs that induce PD symptoms and TH loss such as MPTP in mice also show a partial recovery with time in nonhuman monkeys and mice. The time courses and degrees of TH and dopamine transport fiber recovery after methamphetamine or after MDMA exposure are similar, suggesting terminal regrowth, as these two proteins are independently regulated. Researchers have also noted that there is partial recovery of dopamine levels in the striatum strongly suggesting that the regrown terminals are functional. However the mechanisms responsible for partial recovery are not known, but it is speculated that it might involve compensatory sprouting and branching as has been reported for regrowth following MPTP-induced damage. Dopamine terminal recovery has also been described in rhesus monkeys and velvet monkeys, although it appears to occur on a slower timescale than in mice. Methamphetamine-induced dopaminergic damage persists for more than 12 weeks in velvet monkeys and more than 3 years in rhesus monkeys, demonstrating the persistence of methamphetamine-induced brain damage.

Methamphetamine Toxicity in the Substantia Nigra

This drug doesn’t only cause fiber loss in TH but also produces dopamine cell body loss in the substantia nigra as shown in tests in mice that were treated with 3 methamphetamine injections (5 mg/kg) at 3-hour intervals. From the counts it is evident that 20 to 25% dopaminergic cell loss, measured at different time are linked to exposure to methamphetamine. The observed pattern of TH-stained neuron loss is very similar to the pattern of Nissl-stained neuron loss, indicating that neuronal loss is specific to dopaminergic neurons. Dopamine cell body loss was confirmed via staining with Fluoro-Jade, a general marker of neuronal degeneration that fluoresces after administration of known dopaminergic toxins such as 6-OHDA and MPTP. Fluoro-Jade stains scattered neurons degenerated in the substantia nigra after methamphetamine treatment. there is a possibility that the lack of complete recovery of TH fibers in the striatum is related to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia nigra similar to what occurs in Parkinson’s disease.

methamphetamine

Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Abusers

There are literatures that have linked the abuse of amphetamine to the later development of PD. In a report of a study done by Callaghan and his colleagues, there is an increase in of PD in methamphetamine users in an epidemiological investigation based on data from California statewide hospital discharge records. The researchers identified 1,863 methamphetamine users, 9,315 patients hospitalized for appendicitis as a nondrug control group, and 1,720 cocaine users as a drug control group. All subjects were aged at least 50 years, had been hospitalized in California between 1990 and 2000, and had been followed for up to 10 years after discharge. The methamphetamine user group showed an elevated incidence of PD, with a 165% higher risk for development of PD than the patients from the control group. the results have been confirmed by the same group after doing the same research but in a much broader scope; 40,000 people hospitalized for methamphetamine versus 200,000 for appendicitis and 35,000 for cocaine and a 16-year follow-up period. From these two studies it is evident that methamphetamine use increases the chances of PD development in adulthood.

Drug abuse, addiction and independence are problems that people grapple with every day. These problems need to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this.  Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

Methamphetamine Use May Predispose Consumers to Future Development of Parkinson’s Disease

 

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