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Author Topic: Exercise Strengthens Resistance To Cocaine  (Read 4449 times)


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Exercise Strengthens Resistance To Cocaine
« on: September 29, 2016, 02:58:16 PM »
by Staff on August 18, 2010 in Addiction Research, Cocaine, Living Sober, Treatment

Exercise may help adolescents and young adults avoid the temptations of cocaine, according to a study.

The study, conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, showed that daily physical exercise during adolescence decreases a desire for cocaine in young adult rats.

The study, published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research, was directed by lead author Panayotis Thanos, a neuroscientist with Brookhaven Lab and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Laboratory of Neuroimaging. When the results were evaluated, not only were connections found between exercise and resistance to cocaine, but there was also a gender disparity.

Gender differences

The researchers found that male rats were more able to resist the temptation of cocaine than female rats. Both the control group and the rats who had exercised showed the same disparity between male and female rats. Females exhibited more cocaine preference than males.

Thanos called the study a first step in understanding connections between exercise and substance abuse. It showed that exercise during adolescent years had a significant impact on later cocaine use.

Improvements to brain function

The study shows how exercise works to reduce a desire for cocaine by improving the way the brain processes dopamine, which is linked to experiencing pleasure and reward.

Before the rats were offered drugs, they were placed in a three-chamber dwelling, with two visually distinct compartments and a hallway connecting them. The researchers studied the rats’ preference in room choices.

After examining the rats’ preference in rooms, the researchers began injecting both exercise and sedentary rats with cocaine every other day. On off days, the rats received an injection of saline. After each cocaine injection, the rats were placed in their less-favored chamber of their dwelling. The rats were tested again for compartment preference.

The rats who were exercising on treadmills for five days a week over the course of six weeks were not significantly affected in their room preference by the cocaine injection. Although female rats were more affected by the conditioning, it was significantly less than that of the non-exercising female control group.

Exercise deters cocaine use

Despite the difference in genders, the importance of the study lies in its identification of exercise in adolescence as a deterrent for cocaine use in later life. The findings of the study may be instrumental in organizing strategic drug prevention programs based on physical exercise for adolescents, with an added benefit of reducing drug use not only during teen years but also into adulthood.


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