Posted on 9/04/2011 by meg
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center along with some Australian scientists have discovered that blocking addiction-related nerve pathways in the brain can have a significant impact on sodium appetite. Basically, the nerve cells and connections affected by addictive drugs are the same as those affected by salt.
“Their rodent research shows how certain genes are regulated in a part of the brain that controls the equilibrium of salt, water, energy, reproduction and other rhythms -- the hypothalamus. The scientists found that the gene patterns activated by stimulating an instinctive behavior, salt appetite, were the same groups of genes regulated by cocaine or opiate (such as heroin) addiction.”Researchers provoked this instinctive behavior in mice either by using a diuretic and withholding salt for a period of time or by using the stress hormone ACTH to increase their need for sodium. In doing so, this demonstrated when salt appetite genes were turned on or off and how quickly that switch can be flipped, as it took a mere 10 minutes for mice that drank a salt solution, long before sodium could even be absorbed into their bloodstream.
According to this study, even though such instincts like our hunger for salt are genetically programmed, these neural pathways can be altered through learning and cognition. As such, many scientists believe that addiction works in this same manner.
"Once the genetic program is operating, experiences that are part of the execution of the program become embodied in the overall patterns of an individual's behavior, and some scientists have theorized that drug addiction may use nerve pathways of instinct. In this study, we have demonstrated that one classic instinct, the hunger for salt, is providing neural organization that subserves addiction to opiates and cocaine" said co-lead author Professor Derek Denton, of the University of Melbourne and the Florey Neuroscience Institute.Furthermore, the research team discovered that a certain region of the hypothalamus becomes susceptible to the effects of dopamine among animals with a healthy appetite for salt. “That suggests that the state of the instinctive need, the sodium-depleted state, "spring-loads" the hypothalamus for the subjective experience of reward which follows when animals gratify the need -- a satisfied feeling.”
Moreover, this instinctual theory of addiction may help to explain why abstinence is so difficult and maintenance approaches such as methadone are much more successful despite physical dependence.
Consequently, these findings could seriously impact the understanding of addiction as well as research and treatment, not to mention the impact on high sodium foods.
Salt Appetite Is Linked to Drug Addiction, Research Finds
(+)-naloxone 6-acetylmorphine (6AM) Addiction Adenovirus Adolescence Adrenaline Aftershave Airplaning Alcohol Alcohol Poisoning Alcoholic Alcoholism Amphetamine Anaplasticity Anterior Cingulate Cortex Antibodies Anxiety Appetite Assault Attention Bath Salts Battery Acid Beer Belfast Benefits Benzoylmethylecgonine Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale Binge Drinking Biochemical Biological Clock Body Language Bone Fracture Bones Bonsai Grow Boot Camp Brain Brain Damage Break-Up British Columbia Bum Rushing Buprenorphine California Dreaming Canada Cancer Casino Cathinones Centers for Disease Control and Prevention China Choking Game Cigarette Circadian Rhythm Cirrhosis Citric Acid Cloud Nine Cocaine Cocaine Vaccine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Common Cold Compulsivity Constitutional Right Content-Control Software Counselor Crack Craving Cues Death Decision-Making Demerol Dentist Dependence Dependency Depression Dilaudid Dopamine Dr. Drew Drain Cleaner Drug E-Cigarette Electric Shock Electronic Cigarette Emotion Employment Programs Engrams Exceptional Access Program (EAP) Facebook Facebook Addiction Failure Fainting Game Family Finances Flat Liner fMRI France Funky Chicken Gamblers Anonymous Gambling Genes Glutamate Government Grey Matter Hapten Harm Reduction Harvey Wallbanger Health Health Care Heart Attack Heart Disease Heroin Hillbilly Heroin HIV/AIDS Homelessness Hospitalization Human Rights Hunger Hurricane Charlie Hydrocodone Hydromorphone Hygiene Hypothalamus Illicit Drug Use Immune System Immune-Addiction Response Immunopharmacotherapy Implant Impulse Control Disorders Injection Injuries Instinct Internet Addiction Internet Gambling Intervention Ivory Wave Jay Leno Knockout Game Lantern Fuel Liver Long Term Depression Love Ludomania MADD Medial Prefrontal Cortex Medication Memories Memory Memory Traces Meperidine Mephedrone Mesolimbic Reward Pathway Methadone Methamphetamine Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) Methylone Mid-Brain Money Montreal Morphine Motivation Mouthwash mRNA Muscle Control Naloxone Naltrexone Narcotic Negative Consequences Neural Pathway Nicotine Nicotine Gum Nicotine Patch Noradrenalin Norepinephrine Obsessive-Compulsive Online Gambling Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Ontario Works (OW) Opiate Opioid Oral Hygiene Orbitofrontal Cortex Osteoporosis Ottawa Overdose Oxycodone Oxycontin Oxyneo Pain Pain Management Painkiller Paint Thinner Pass-out Game Pathological Computer Use Pathological Gambling Percocet Placebo Poker Pop Pre-frontal Cortex Prefrontal Cortex Prescription Drugs Propoxyphene Psychoactive Purple Dragon Rats Recovery Red Dove Rehab Rejection Relapse Relationships Research Research Validity Reward Reward and Punishment Risky Sexual Behavior RNA Safe Injection Site Salt Scarface Sensory Perception Serotonin Sex Addiction Shame Sleep/Wake Cycle Sleeper Hold Slot Machines Smoking Smoking-Cessation SNDRI Sobriety Social Assistance Social Media Social Security Soda Soda Addiction Sodium Sodium Ion Channel Space Monkey Speech Star Dust Striatum Subutex Successful Treatment Supreme Court of Canada Synapse Teenagers Tobacco Toll-Like receptor 4 (TLR4) Tooth Decay Tooth Enamel Tooth Erosion Treatment Trillium Drug Program Urine Sample Vaccine Vancouver Vanilla Sky Vaporize Vicodin Virus Vivitrol Welfare Wet Program White Lightning White Matter Wine Withdrawal