Tag Archives: cocaine

Mood Controlled Water Makes Shrimp Reckless, Suicidal

Prozac Pollution Making Shrimp Reckless

There’s no happy ending for shrimp exposed to the mood-booster Prozac, according to a new study.

Remnants of antidepressant drugs flushed into waterways worldwide are altering shrimp behavior and making them easier prey, experts say.

(See “Cocaine, Spices, Hormones Found in Drinking Water.”)

To mimic conditions in the wild, scientists exposed the estuary-dwelling shrimp Echinogammarus marinus to the antidepressant fluoxetine at levels detected in average sewage-treatment waste. Fluoxetine is the key ingredient in the drugs Prozac and Sarafem.

Shrimp normally gravitate toward safe, dark corners. But when exposed to fluoxetine, the animals were five times more likely to swim toward a bright region of water, the team discovered.

“This behavior makes them much more likely to be eaten by a predator, such as a fish or bird,” said study co-author Alex Ford, a biologist at U.K.’s University of Portsmouth.

The fluoxetine likely makes shrimp’s nerves more sensitive to serotonin, a brain chemical known to alter moods and sleep patterns, according to the study, recently published in the journal Aquatic Toxicology. Full Story

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Shrimp on Prozac are killing themselves

A study shows that drug traces in our waste can affect marine life behavior, but can crustaceans have feelings?

I have friends who are always talking about happy pigs and happy chickens — left to roam freely, eating real food instead of weird commercial food pellets, given the occasional backrub. But pity the poor shrimp! No one is raising happy shrimp … on purpose anyway. But all the Prozac we’ve been taking may be doing the work for us, and marine biologists at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. have found that enough of the drug passes through our bodies directly into the wastewater to seriously change the behavior of shrimp who swim in it: They’re killing themselves. But do shrimp even have emotions?

Shrimp are a shy and retiring lot, living in shadows and dark crevices to hide from predators (and nurse their psychic scars?). But when they’re swimming in concentrations of Prozac (or, more specifically, the chemical fluoxetine) as those found in the water around some urban areas, they become five times as likely to swim toward light, making them easy prey. And sadly, pollutants from urban runoff are in highest concentration in river estuaries and right near the coast … which is where shrimp tend to live. Aside from the tragic irony, if shrimp populations start to collapse, it could have a serious effect on the established balance of the food chain. And most wastewater treatment plants aren’t geared toward removing residual drugs from the water. (A few years ago, scientists found fish changing sexes because of contraceptives and other chemicals in runoff.) Full Story

Ritalin: A Dangerous Addictive Drug

Two new stories in the press about the dangers of Ritalin, though this is not new news. Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II drug, in the same class as cocaine, yet children are still being drugged with it.

Ritalin May Cause Changes In The Brain’s Reward Areas

The study highlights the need for more research into methylphenidate’s long-term effects on the brain, the researchers say. The findings were published February 3 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers, led by Yong Kim, senior research associate, and Paul Greengard, Vincent Astor Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, exposed mice to two weeks of daily injections of cocaine or methylphenidate. They then examined reward areas of the brain for changes in dendritic spine formation — related to the formation of synapses and the communication between nerve cells — and the expression of a protein called delta Fos B, which has been implicated in the long-term actions of addictive drugs.

Both drugs increased dendritic spine formation and the expression of delta Fos B; however, the precise patterns of their effects were distinct. They differed in the types of spines affected, the cells that were affected and the brain regions. In some cases there was overlap between the two drugs, and in some cases methylphenidate produced greater effects than cocaine, for example, on protein expression in certain regions. Both methylphenidate and cocaine are in the class of drugs known as psychostimulants.

“Methylphenidate, which is thought to be a fairly innocuous compound, can have structural and biochemical effects in some regions of the brain that can be even greater than those of cocaine,” says Kim. “Further studies are needed to determine the behavioral implications of these changes and to understand the mechanisms by which these drugs affect synapse formation.”

The Truth About Ritalin: Dangerous Drug for ADHD

Unless we live under giant boulders, most of us have heard about Tom Cruise’s recent appearance on the Today Show with host Matt Lauer. In response to direct questioning, Cruise boldly expressed his v iews on psychiatry, declaring it a pseudoscience and denouncing the use of Ritalin.

His communication lacked the slick social veneer that would have made it more palatable to the masses, and thankfully so–by ruffling some feathers he started a much-needed media firestorm on the subject of psychiatry.

As a result, issues that much of society has conveniently put in an old box marked “someone else’s responsibility” and placed in the back of the cultural closet are finally being brought to light.

Not the least of which is this country’s obsession with Ritalin, the drug of choice for psychiatrists everywhere.

So in the interest of shedding light on shadowy subjects, let’s follow in Mr. Cruise’s footsteps and keep that important conversation going.

Full Story

See Also:

New Risks Revealed in Drugging Children