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21 December 2011

For first time, researchers describe molecular mechanism for a 'gateway drug'—nicotine (The Dana Foundation Website - 22 November 2011)

Dana_logoNicotine has long been thought to be a "gateway drug."  For the first time, the biological underpinnings of that gateway mechanism have been explained.

Excerpt:

A few years ago, I attended an open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to support a friend in recovery. During a brief break, it was impossible not to notice how many attendees rushed outside for a cigarette. Epidemiological studies have long linked smoking to other forms of addiction—but, to date, they have been unable to establish any direct biological connections. A study published in the Nov. 2 issue of Science Translational Medicine, however, has now demonstrated how nicotine may accelerate both the cellular and epigenetic processes underlying addiction, providing the first biological explanation of a “gateway” drug...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

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