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Monday, February 13, 2017

Cadherins, Brain “Glue” and Mice Impervious to the Lure of Cocaine

Brain MRI scan
A sweeping, cultural shift has profoundly changed the perspective of clinicians in recent years. Addiction, once viewed as a personal fault, is now more accurately understood a disease – one that is influenced by environmental, social and genetic factors.

In fact, earlier this year, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued a statement that reinforced this new view of the disease of addiction. “It is not a moral failing, or evidence of a character flaw, but a chronic disease of the brain that deserves our compassion and care.”

And, researchers have provided even more evidence that supports the link between these biological influences and addiction. In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, scientists used genetically engineered mice to better understand how biology influences the course of addiction.

The scientists studied mice who had been genetically engineered to produce large amounts of cadherins, a protein that plays a prominent role in the brain’s reward circuit. (In a way, cadherins act like glue, binding brain cells together.)

Initially, the scientists hypothesized that the high cadherin mice brains would be more susceptible to addiction when exposed to cocaine. But, they actually found the opposite.

Their research found that, in a way, the higher levels of cadherin made it harder for the reward circuit to strengthen in response to cocaine.

"We thought, hey, more glue, stronger synapses, more learning, more addiction," Bamji says. "But what we actually saw was the opposite," says Shernaz Bamji, a professor in the Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. "They didn't keep going into the room where they received the cocaine and they seemed to be just as happy exploring all around the cage."

So, what is the implication of this finding? Primarily, it reinforces why certain people are biologically more susceptible to addiction. And, secondarily, it introduces a new treatment pathway. One that can harness the biology of the brain to curtail the progression of the disease and reverse its effects.

Residential Addiction Treatment in Tennessee

Located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, our 36-bed residential treatment facility tailors treatment plans to your insurance, health history, and addiction severity. While English Mountain’s residential rehab programs are available in 30 to 60-day periods, many residents end up prolonging their stay up to 90 days or more to deepen their recovery focus and strengthen their sobriety foundation. Let us guide you as you learn to rid yourself of drugs or alcohol and embrace a life of sobriety. Call us today: (877) 459-8595.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The New Non-Addictive Morphine?

Dr. Andrew Coop
With the opioid epidemic continuing to march full speed ahead, stakeholders are mounting pressure to help curb the impact. The clinical community is taking aim at reducing the practice of overprescribing and medical schools now focus on addiction prevention.

And, the research community is also working on a pharmacological approach – developing cutting edge pain relievers that don’t have the negative side effects like nausea, respiratory depression and addiction.

There are currently several new compounds under development that hope to deliver the same opioid level of relief but without the hefty health risks. One experimental synthetic opioid, UMB425, has proven, thus far, to deliver promising results.

Researchers at the University of Maryland at Baltimore have been working on developing painkillers on par with OxyContin and Percocet, but without the addictive qualities of those drugs.

“We designed this so that when you discontinue the drug, the patient doesn’t go into withdrawal symptoms,” said Andrew Coop, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy who’s leading the research. “We have shown that it doesn’t cause dependency. At the moment, we’ve shown this just in animals.”

While the initial trials involving mice have been successful, UMB425 is still several years away from being available on the market. Scientists will first need to demonstrate that it delivers the same non-addictive results in humans and pass requirements set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Until UMB425 is fully vetted and finally proven to deliver on its promise, others in the addiction research community applaud their work while remaining cautiously optimistic.

“Now that we know just how deadly these products are, I think there’s a higher bar to (FDA approval) than there has been historically. And for good reason,” said Dr. Caleb Alexander, Co-Director of Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “For far too long we have overestimated the effectiveness of these drugs and underestimated their risks. They have been vastly overused at great detriment to the public health.”

Given the results published so far, the next generation of synthetic opioids like UMB425 may hold the key in the fight against the opioid epidemic. While there are many effective treatments available today, the most promising solution is one that prevents a physical dependency from occurring at all.

Benefits of our Tennessee 12-step Program

A 12-step recovery program facilitates long-term sobriety through practical wisdom and spiritual growth. EMR’s 12-step curriculum teaches participants to find support in a community while embracing accountability, practicing humility, acknowledging mistakes, and seeking forgiveness. To find out if our residential inpatient program is a fit for you or a loved one suffering from alcohol, drug abuse, or another addictive disorder, contact our admissions advisors today: (877) 459.8595 or contact us online.

Monday, January 23, 2017

4 More Reasons Why You Should Be Lifting Weights

Have you gotten into an exercise rut and only hit the treadmill at the gym? Cardio is a great way to support your mental and physical health. But, you’ll find that most trainers recommend incorporating weight-bearing exercises into your routine too.

If you’re working on your sobriety, strength training can boost your mood, support your healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of relapse.

Need a little motivation? Here are four reasons why you should try lifting weights on a regular basis.

(1) You’ll get more restorative sleep. Getting plenty of rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and studies have shown that weightlifting can help improve the quality of sleep that you get. In one recent study, researchers found that individuals who pushed themselves at the gym were more likely to sleep through the night and wake up less frequently.

(2) It’s a great way to support a healthy mind. Weightlifting is a good way to reduce your risk of experiencing anxiety and depression while rebuilding your self-esteem.

(3) Weightlifting is great for your metabolism. Not only are you burning calories while you work out, but your body also keeps working long after you leave the gym in a process called “physiologic homework." Weight training can boost your metabolism as much as 15 percent and help you maintain a healthy weight.

(4) It can help motivate you to reach other personal and professional goals. Are you looking to make this a transformative year? If so, weightlifting can play an important role in your life. Bring a notebook with you to the gym and take notes about the number of reps you can complete and how much you’re able to lift. Over time, you just might surprise yourself with the amount of progress you’re able to accomplish. And, you can use that positive momentum to fuel other changes in your life.

As with any form of exercise, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor first before starting a new routine. And, if you haven’t already, talk to your addiction recovery team about incorporating strength training into your overall plan of care.

Residential Addiction Treatment in Tennessee

Located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, our 36-bed residential treatment facility tailors treatment plans to your insurance, health history, and addiction severity. We round out the treatment experience with holistic options such as creative arts and music therapy, equine-assisted therapy and other experiential programs. Contact an admissions advisor by phone at (877) 459-8595 or contact us online.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Investing in Your Success: Career Planning Tips for 2017

Men working
If you haven’t been excited about going to work for quite some time, maybe it’s time to rethink your professional goals.

And, that doesn’t have to mean going back to school or jumping into a completely different field. Sometimes, you just need to make micro-adjustments to realign the trajectory of your future.

If you’re beginning a new sober lifestyle, you probably have a newfound sense of optimism about your future. Why not make the most of this positive momentum and use that energy to plan your career goals?

If you’re not sure where to get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself when plotting out your professional future.

(1) How do you define your version of success?

Your career can influence more than simply the amount that’s in your bank account. Take some time to think about what you value the most. Is it being part of an organization with a mission you can get behind? Or, are you looking for a role where you’re challenged intellectually? Find out what you want out of your professional life and find a job that fulfills your personal goals!

(2) In prior jobs, what did I like the most?

By taking the time to think through prior roles and responsibilities, you can better predict what you’d like to pursue in the future. Think about all of the different jobs you’ve held and what you liked about each - then try to find a common theme. Do you like crunching numbers for a living or are you drawn to roles that involve project management skills? If you can identify the types of activities you enjoy, you can then seek out professional roles that match your strengths and interests.

(3) Have my priorities changed in life?

Did you find your “dream job” right out of college? If so, consider yourself lucky! Though, it’s normal to have your personal and professional preferences evolve over time. Don’t lock yourself into one career during your lifetime. Be open to reconsidering a new career path based on where you are in life. Right now.

Life Skills Training at English Mountain Recovery

Many men who are focusing on their recovery have also rediscovered a renewed and profound interest in their professional futures. That’s why we offer a comprehensive array of life skills training as part of our relapse prevention programming at English Mountain Recovery to help you prepare for a new and fulfilling sober lifestyle. We’re here to support you every step of the way. To learn more, call: (877) 459-8595.