Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Answers to addiction sought in the aquarium

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Interesting article at The Fix by Andy Bodie:

How much do we really know about addiction? The brutal truth is, not a lot. Sure, we’ve come a long way since the days when“treatment” involved the drunkard’s cloak or frying brains, but there are still some fairly hefty gaps in our knowledge. How is it that two people can use the same drug, but only one of them becomes addicted? Why do some people find quitting easier than others? And why does a cure for one person have no effect on the next?

It’s heartening to know, then, that in laboratories around the world, geneticists, psychologists, biologists and neuroscientists are carrying out all sorts of weird and wonderful experiments in the name of addiction research.

What’s my stake in this? Well, I’m no scientist, but I am deeply passionate about the subject. I’ve spent four years reading up on evolutionary psychology for my blog, Womanology, which is an attempt to fathom the mysteries of the dating world, and I’m a volunteer with Science London, a charity that organizes social events with a scientific twist. I’ve also battled my fair share of demons: In my 43 years on this earth, I’ve been hooked on gambling, pornography, tobacco, video games, alcohol and cocaine. (I’m pretty sure I’d have been addicted to sex, too, if I’d ever managed to track down a reliable supplier.)

So when I heard that Science London was putting on a talk called “Addicted Fish: How useful are animal models in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie addiction?” I signed up like a shot.

Can fish really tell us anything about human behaviour? Whoever heard of a herring hooked on heroin?

The speaker was Dr. Matt Parker, a geneticist at Queen Mary University London (and until last month, it seems pertinent to mention, a 30-a-day man). He began, in front of a small but committed crowd in a room above a pub in central London, by addressing the question on everyone’s lips: Why fish? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2013 at 5:41 pm

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