Monday, 31 January 2011
My brain's 'faulty' according to scientists who report they have pinpointed a source of nicotine craving in the brain.
The 'fault' leads to an uncontrollable desire to smoke says lead researcher Dr Christie Fowler, from the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, US. "If the pathway isn't functioning properly, you simply take more," she says.
According to Dr Fowler, it's all to do with genetic variation in the alpha5 nicotinic receptor subunit.
The Scripps Research Institute funding:
The Institute's $360 million operating budget includes federal funding, financial incentives from the State of Florida, licensing fees and investment income, grants from health-related research and support organizations, and gifts from private foundations, corporations, and individuals.
According to this report the research, which has only been undertaken on mice, is now to receive funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. No mention of Big Pharma being involved but I suspect it is as the NIDA wants a new category of drugs to combat nicotine addiction.
I wonder if there's a subunit in the brain for food addiction. Discovering that could solve the west's obesity problem. But I doubt if that's high on the list of priorities as there's too much money still to be made from the diet gravy train (excuse pun).
Actually, I feel rather less of a second-rate citizen because of this research. I can now explain to friends my desire to smoke is because of a 'fault' in my brain. Nobody could fail to be sympathetic could they?