Sunday, April 8, 2012

From Their Mouth to Your Ear: Researchers Talk Drugs

A collection of five-question interviews.

I’ll be away from the Addiction Inbox office this week, attending the big TEDMED health and medicine powwow in Washington, D.C.

In the meantime, here’s a summation (with links) of the interviews I’ve been doing recently in the “five-question interview” series. I’ve been very lucky to nab some state-of-the-art thinkers, working at the top of their fields, from psychiatry to pharmacology to neuroscience.

See below for the story thus far:

David Kroll, former Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Science at North Carolina Central University in Durham, is now Science Communications Director for the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

“The attraction to users was, until recently, that Huffman cannabis compounds (prefixed with "JWH-" for his initials) could not be detected in urine by routine drug testing. Hence, incense products containing these compounds have been called ‘probationer's weed.’" MORE

Vaughan Bell is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. He is also honorary professor at the Universidad de Antioquia in MedellĂ­n, Colombia.

"I was very struck by the appearance of classic Kluver form constants [after taking ayahuasca], geometric patterns that are probably caused by the drug affecting the visual neurons that deal with basic perceptual process (e.g. line detection)." MORE

Jon Simons, a cognitive neuroscientist, is a lecturer in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and principal investigator at the University’s Memory Laboratory.

“If you’re at a party and happen to drunkenly strike up conversation with Angelina Jolie (or Brad Pitt, if you prefer) and, bowled over by your charm and witty repartee, she tells you her phone number, you may well not remember it when you wake up sober the next morning. However, the evidence suggests that you would have a better chance of recalling the number if you got drunk again." MORE

Bankole Johnson is professor and chairman of the University of Virginia’s Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences.

“With growing and clear acceptance of the neurobiological underpinnings of addiction, our work on pharmacogenetics promises to provide effective medications—such as ondansetron—that we can deliver to an individual likely to be a high responder, based on his or her genetic make up." MORE

Michael Farrell is the director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Before that, he was Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London.

“The near complete absence of methadone or buprenorphine treatment in American prisons is hard to understand, when you see what a great contribution US research and treatment with methadone and buprenorphine has had globally. Now there are over 300,000 people on methadone in China as part of HIV and AIDS prevention." MORE

Deni Carise is a clinical psychologist who serves as senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Phoenix House, a leading U.S. non-profit drug treatment organization with more than 100 programs in 10 states.

“Those in recovery see the disease of alcoholism or addiction as a moral obligation to get well. If you know you have this disease and the only way to keep it under control is not to use alcohol or drugs, then that’s what you have to do." MORE

Keith Laws is professor of cognitive neuropsychology and head of research in the School of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

"Some may tolerate 100s or even 1000s of E tablets, but for others far fewer may lead to memory problems. We can predict that 3 in 4 users will develop memory problems, but not which 3 or after how many tablets." MORE

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