Evolution of Heroin Addiction

Evolution of Heroin Addiction

Science and Addiction

Scientists began studying addictive behaviors in people in the 1930s. That was when people with addiction were either labeled as immoral or known to have weaker willpower. But as the world progressed, and more scientific studies were conducted, it was understood that drug addiction is anything but representative of an immoral character, rather it was proved that addiction is a disease of the brain and the patient should be taken to a drug addiction rehab at the earliest. Had it not been for scientific study, it would still be regarded as a punishable act rather than a health problem.

What Is Drug Addiction?

A drug creates an adrenaline rush in the brain which makes an individual happy but that feeling is short lived. However, the rush which it creates initially is the major contributing factor to addiction, later turning it into depression. An addict continues to take the drug for temporary relief, getting trapped in a vicious cycle. A drug such as nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs (PO) create the same effect of pleasure that you experience when you eat, fall in love or indulge in an activity that is pleasurable. It is a chronic disease of the brain which changes brain functionality, structure and adversely affects the productivity of an individual. It is an irresistible impulse which takes a lot more to quit than just strong willpower despite harmful consequences.

A review on the scientific evidence of drug addiction has proven that people who have had failing relationship at an early age and psychological/familial problems are more likely to develop an addictive behavior than the ones who haven’t faced these issues. Although, social behavior has also been characterized as a contributing factor but it is not fitting in most cases. Abuse and childhood trauma have also been listed down as key factors for developing drug addiction.

It has been further stated that just like obesity can cause cholesterol and heart diseases, trauma can significantly contribute to drug addiction. But as research has progressed, drug addiction rehab options have increased significantly, too.

Recent Scientific Studies About Drug Addiction

Drug addiction rehab centers have been better able to help patients by means of thorough research conducted on the disease, some of which are as follows:

  • Genes and its effects on addiction

A study indicates that just like many other diseases, addictive behavior tendencies can be ruled out in individuals by testing their genes. Researchers came across genes that can contribute in the development of addictive behavior. Although, it goes on to mention that genes cannot always be the determining factor, they can help in early detection.

  • Stress hormones and its positive effects on drug addiction

Research conducted in 2015 proved that stress hormones can significantly reduce heroin craving in low-dose addicts. An experiment conducted by the University of Basel, Switzerland showed that 29 addicts were given cortisol (the stress hormone) before they were given heroine and the results showed 25 percent decrease of interest in heroine consumption.

Drug addiction has been thoroughly researched and various drug addiction rehab faculties are available worldwide. Although, chances of relapse are always looming, but seeking help can have significant positive results.

 

My review of A Troublesome Inheritance for the Los Angeles Review of Books

My review of A Troublesome Inheritance for the Los Angeles Review of Books

World Map - Abstract Acrylic
Image by Lara Mukahirn.

I’ve written (another) review of Nicholas Wade’s “science of race” book A Troublesome Inheritance, this time for the Los Angeles Review of Books. If you’ve read the my previous review for The Molecular Ecologist, you won’t find much new here, but the LARB piece is pitched at a less technical audience, and takes a somewhat different point of entry:

CHARLES DARWIN is more usually cited for his scientific discoveries than his moral insights. In the closing pages of his travelogue The Voyage of the Beagle however, he condemns the practice of slavery — which he observed firsthand in the colonized New World — in blistering, heartfelt terms worthy of an Old Testament prophet

In this testimony against the great social sin of his age, Darwin makes an observation that should unsettle us even here and now: “if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

I’m extremely pleased for the chance to contribute to a great literary magazine, and I’m also quite happy to see that LARB went with my suggested, punny headline: “Cluster-struck.”
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Science online, warped factors edition

Science online, warped factors edition

ixspreparation2

This is a spacecraft NASA wants to build. Photo by Mark Rademaker.


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Science online, may the odds be ever in your favor edition

Science online, may the odds be ever in your favor edition

Hurricane Eugene

Hey there, Eugene. Photo by NASA.


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Science online, sweetening the stats edition

Science online, sweetening the stats edition

Splenda in the Grass

Photo by Kate Ter Haar.


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The Molecular Ecologist: I read A Troublesome Inheritance so you don’t have to

The Molecular Ecologist: I read A Troublesome Inheritance so you don’t have to

World Map - Abstract Acrylic
Image by Lara Mukahirn.

Over at The Molecular Ecologist I’ve done an in-depth review of the population genetics data cited by Nicholas Wade in his book A Troublesome Inheritance, which argues that social, cultural, and economic differences between human populations are all in our genes. Digging into the book’s endnotes, it didn’t take me long to find discrepancies between Wade’s description of basic population genetic results and the actual, um, results.

First and foremost, Wade claims that when population geneticists apply a class of statistical methods called clustering algorithms to datasets containing hundreds or thousands of genetic markers, they objectively identify five geographic groups that he calls “continental races”—differentiating African, European/Middle Eastern/South Asian, East Asian, Oceanian, and American people. What he does not make particularly clear is that while clustering methods do group genetic samples without direct instructions, the algorithms do not decide how many clusters there are. The geneticists using them do.

To make me feel somewhat better for having paid actual money to read this book, go read my whole review.◼
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Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Why evolutionary biologists are stoked about pot

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Why evolutionary biologists are stoked about pot

Verde

Photo by Diego Charlón Sánchez.

This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!, guest contributor Daniela Vergara explains how CGRI, the initiative to sequence the genome-wide genetic variation of Cannabis, will answer cool evolutionary questions.

At the CGRI, we would like to understand first, how much genetic variation there is in the numerous pure C. sativa, C. indica, and C. ruderalis accessions and heirloom varieties. This will lead us to understand the relationships among the major lineages within the genus, the spread of Cannabis throughout the globe, and rates of historical hybridization between the named species.

For Daniela’s detailed run-down of important evolutionary questions in Cannabis, go read the whole thing.◼
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Science online, take the stairs edition

Science online, take the stairs edition

 

Bang Rak Fire Station
Photo by Minette Layne.


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Science online, cracks of doom edition

Science online, cracks of doom edition

bees on Asclepias, enhanced a bit

Photo by Martin LaBar.


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Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Making sense of pollination syndromes

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: Making sense of pollination syndromes

 

2010.07.15 - Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Pollinator at work. Photo by jby.

Over at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! I’m discussing pollination syndromes—suites of traits held in common by plants that use similar pollinators.

  • Bee-pollinated flowers are usually blue or yellow, often with contrasting “guides” that point towards nectar rewards, and they usually have some sort of scent.
  • Bird-pollinated flowers tend to be red and tubular, and often open downwards. They produce lots of relatively weak nectar, and generally don’t have very strong scents …
  • Moth-pollinated flowers are usually white, opening in the evenings, and strongly scented.

To find out how evolution makes sense of these handy rules of natural historical thumb, go read the whole thing, and check out the new meta-analysis of pollination syndromes that I discuss.◼
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