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Cocaine Changes in Brain Reversed by Amino Acid, Animal Study Suggests

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Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina say that a common amino acid could be used to undo the brain-circuitry changes wrought by cocaine use and reduce craving for the drug, Science Daily reported Oct. 23.

“Our finding suggests a promising therapeutic strategy for cocaine addiction, for which there is no approved treatment,” said lead researcher Khaled Moussawi.

Moussawi and colleagues administered the amino acid N-acetlycysteine (NAC) to lab rats addicted to cocaine and found that the rats stopped seeking drugs, even when given drug-associated cues. NAC is involved in the pathway for the neurotransmitter glutamate.

The study findings were unveiled at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience.

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