A new preclinical study led by a University of Texas at Dallas researcher shows that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy might have the potential to help people overcome drug addiction by helping them learn new behaviors to replace those associated with seeking drugs.
The new research, published in the January issue of the journal Learning and Memory
, found that drug cravings in addicted rats were reduced when they were treated with VNS. It’s possible that the research could be applied to people who have been addicted to drugs, said senior author Dr. Sven Kroener
, assistant professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
For Dr. Sven Kroener, assistant professor at the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
, teaching science is more than showing a student how to use a microscope or defining a GABAergic neuron.
“Science is not just data acquisition,” Kroener said. “It’s analysis and asking, ‘Did it do something to my bar graphs? Did it alter my group averages?,’ and then communicating it. If you can put together figures and then make a paper, only then is it science.”
Two professors in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
recently received national funding to study the mechanisms behind a proposed new treatment for anxiety disorders.
The National Institute of Mental Health
grant will provide $423,000 over the next three years to Dr. Christa McIntyre-Rodriguez
and Dr. Sven Kroener
to fund their research.
Scientists seeking an effective treatment for one type of chronic pain believe a ubiquitous, generic diabetes medication might solve both the discomfort and the mental deficits that go with the pain.
“People who are in constant pain have problems thinking straight sometimes. The longer you’re in pain, the more entrenched the impairment becomes,” said Stephanie Shiers, a fourth-year cognition and neuroscience
doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas and lead author of a study
recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience
. “These impairments aren’t addressed by existing therapeutics.”
In the study, UT Dallas researchers show how a type of chronic pain called neuropathic pain responds to metformin, one of the most prescribed medications worldwide, as well as to pain relievers gabapentin and clonidine.