20 Stories

Your Medication Could Be Making You More Selfish

Two common drugs alter a person's moral compass: study

(Newser) - Medications do more than treat an illness: Certain ones may also make you more considerate or selfish. A new study finds two common medications, an antidepressant and a treatment for Parkinson's disease, actually alter your moral compass, reports Medical Daily . Researchers assigned 89 healthy people a dose of the... More »

Scientists Find Way to Kill Pot Addiction—in Monkeys

Treatment blocked effects of THC

(Newser) - Scientists searching for ways to help people quit smoking pot have come up with an effective new buzz killer. The treatment involves a naturally occurring chemical that blocks marijuana's effect on the brain's pleasure centers, Smithsonian magazine explains. Researchers say the kynurenic acid treatment was able to block... More »

Beer Drinkers Get Giddy at Mere Taste

Dopamine kicks in even before alcohol registers

(Newser) - Beer drinkers start feeling happy at the smallest sip, even before any alcohol registers, a new study suggests. Indiana University researchers found that dopamine levels in the brain rose when drinkers had just a tiny amount of beer, before any alcohol buzz was possible, reports LiveScience . The not-so-funny part: Dopamine... More »

Strep Throat Linked to OCD, Tics

Bacteria may unleash host of neurological problems in some

(Newser) - Strep may be causing much more than a sore throat among children. The powerful bacteria could be triggering a host of neurological problems from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to nervous tics, anorexia, and hyperactivity, some scientists believe. Millions of US children develop strep throat each year, and most cases are quickly... More »

Can't Stay Faithful? Blame Your DNA

Doctors link gene to uncommitted sex

(Newser) - Have a tendency to cheat or sleep around? It may not be your fault. A new study shows that people with a particular version of the dopamine receptor gene DRD4 are more likely to be unfaithful or have one-night stands, LiveScience reports. The same gene has already been linked to... More »

Genetics Could Make You a Liberal

...but only if you had a lot of friends in high school, finds study

(Newser) - Is political ideology something you’re born with? Scientists have uncovered a gene that predisposes people to be liberals—provided they had a lot of friends in high school. The study, conducted at UC San Diego and Harvard, matched 2,000 subjects’ genetic information with maps of their social networks,... More »

Study: Junk Food Addiction is Real

Brain chemistry changed in binge-eating rats

(Newser) - Junk food can be as addictive as cocaine and causes similar changes in the brain, according to a new study. Researchers found that rats given unlimited access to high-calorie food like candy bars and cheesecake not only became obese very quickly, they continued gorging even when they know doing so... More »

Dopamine: Produces the Rush, Not the Pleasure

The "it" neurotransmitter stimulates drive, not good feeling

(Newser) - Dopamine has become the decade’s “it” neurotransmitter, just as serotonin was in the ‘90s. But the popular image of dopamine as the brain chemical in charge of making us feel good, and hooking us on craving that feeling, a “Bacchus in the brain,” is misleading... More »

Police Brutality? It Could Just Be Excited Delirium

Research may help clear cops who end up with dead perps

(Newser) - New research could help exonerate police officers accused of using excessive force to restrain unruly perpetrators, New Scientist reports. So far the American Medical Association has not recognized “excited delirium,” a condition describing an agitated, combative person who exhibits superhuman strength and high body temperature—a rare condition... More »

Got a Temper? Blame Your Genes

(Newser) - Why some people get steamed while others stay cool depends on which version of a certain gene they carry, the Daily Telegraph reports. German scientists isolated a gene that affects dopamine levels. In a study, people with the least common variation showed little anger. Those with the other two mutations... More »

Parkinson's Treatment Shows Promise in Mice

(Newser) - Potential good news for Parkinson's patients: An experimental treatment on mice that involves implanting electrodes on the spinal cord had great success, Reuters reports. Mice that received the so-called stimulator were able to move more easily. Human trials are expected to start next year, and they could lead the way... More »

Fast Thinking Makes People Happy

Rapid thoughts can make people feel happier

(Newser) - Happy people think fast thoughts, say researchers at Princeton and Harvard. They asked two groups to perform the same tasks—problem-solving, reading, and watching TV—at different speeds. Those forced to move along briskly felt more elated, creative, even powerful, Scientific American reports. The findings suggest a crossword puzzle or... More »

Single Nerve Cell Can Hold a Memory: Study

New findings may shed light on addiction, memory disorders

(Newser) - Individual neurons in the brain can hang on to memories for a minute or longer, a new study finds. Something like a computer’s temporary random access memory (RAM), this working memory is what allows you to keep a phone number in your head for a few seconds, then forget... More »

Quit Smoking? Yes We Can!

President-elect's struggle with nicotine could help others kick the habit

(Newser) - Barack Obama is about to become the nation's smoker-in-chief, and anti-smoking advocates are hopeful he'll become a powerful example for other smokers if he finally manages to kick the habit. He has quit several times but so far has always gone back to smoking up to eight cigarettes a day,... More »

Study Paves Way for 'Entrepreneur Pill'

Start-up bosses seen to make tough calls under stress; researchers see hormone link

(Newser) - A study that links entrepreneurial success to risky decision-making, a trait less prevalent among buttoned-up business managers, has scientists pondering whether a pill could boost enterprising behavior. Riskiness is associated with the hormone dopamine, which could inject chutzpah into hesitant managers, the Telegraph reports. Critics doubt chemicals are solely responsible,... More »

Brain Offers a Clue on Why Obese People Eat More

(Newser) - New research takes an accepted truth about obese people and flips it upside down: They may, in fact, get less pleasure out of eating than people of normal weight, the LA Times reports. Researchers found that people who have weaker reward circuitry in the brain tend to overeat. Thus, while... More »

Parkinson's Drugs Trigger Compulsive Behavior

Patients report sudden onset of addictions

(Newser) - Drugs for Parkinson's disease can be enormously beneficial, relieving patients' tremors and rigid muscles. But some patients are now complaining of an unusual side effect—extreme compulsive behavior. One woman began taking Mirapex to combat symptoms and suddenly found herself with a $200-a-day scratch-off lottery ticket habit, reports the Chicago ... More »

Parkinson's Spreads to Transplanted Cells

Disease found in healthy cells grafted to sufferers' brains

(Newser) - Transplanting healthy cells into the brains of people with Parkinson's alleviates symptoms, but sufferers showed signs of deterioration as the disease spread to the grafted cells, according to two studies in the journal Nature Medicine. Scientists in Sweden and Chicago discovered similar results in patients who received cell transplants up... More »

Schizophrenia Drug Offers New Hope

Works on different brain chemical than its predecessors

(Newser) - The first human trial of a new medication to treat schizophrenia that works fundamentally differently from its predecessors has shown promising results, according to this month's Nature Medicine. The drug targets glutamate rather than dopamine, as do other drugs. Scientists have long known glutamate is involved in schizophrenia. More »

2 Studies Tie Dopamine to ADHD

Low level of brain chemical connected to substance abuse, too

(Newser) - Levels of dopamine—a brain chemical associated with movement and emotion—may explain the occurrence of attention deficit and hyperactivity, two studies published yesterday concluded. The studies found decreased dopamine activity in the brains of individuals, both children and adults, diagnosed with ADHD. Doctors say these decreased levels could have... More »

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