Skip to comments.A Huff Equals a Puff
Posted on 01/21/2007 8:52:59 PM PST by neverdem
By Rhitu Chatterjee
ScienceNOW Daily News
10 January 2007
Sniffing, or huffing, glue, paint, cleaning fluids, and nail polish remover may appear relatively harmless, but it is physiologically no different from other forms of drug abuse. That's the conclusion of a new study that shows that toluene, the solvent in many of these inhaled substances, has the same effect on our brains as notorious drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. The findings explain a long-standing mystery about the impact of this addictive substance on the brain and suggest ways of developing treatments for addiction.
Solvent abuse increases a person's desire for other drugs, boosts the risk of depression and suicide, and irreversibly damages the brain, heart, kidney, and liver. But the exact effect of solvents such as toluene on our brains has remained unclear. Unlike other drugs that target specific areas of the brain, solvents were thought to act on all brain regions. Then, in 2002, neurologist Stephen Dewey of Brookhaven National Laboratory, in Upton, New York, and colleagues showed that toluene homes in on brain areas such as the reward center, which includes two main structures, the ventral tegmental area (VTA,) and the nucleus accumbens (ACB). Drugs such as nicotine and cocaine activate a group of dopamine-producing neurons in the VTA. These neurons start firing and release dopamine--the brain's feel-good chemical--into the VTA and the ACB. Studies by neurophysiologist Arthur Riegel of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and his colleagues revealed that toluene also stimulates the neurons in the VTA to start firing. But no one was able to show whether it also induces them to release dopamine in the ACB or the VTA, leading some scientists to ask if toluene exerted its effects on the brain through a dopamine-independent pathway.
To get to the bottom of toluene's mechanism of action, Riegel, neurophysiologist Augustin Zapata of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues dunked rat brain slices in different concentrations of toluene and found that lower concentrations were more potent. Solutions of 1 micromolar or more no longer activated the neurons, explaining why solvents are most potent when inhaled in small quantities. Next, the scientists injected small amounts of toluene into the brains of live rats. Not only did it electrically activate the VTA, it also caused the same neurons to release dopamine into the VTA and ACB, proving that toluene action on the brain is similar to that of other drugs. The team reports its findings online today in Neuropsychopharmacology.
The study is "a really outstanding piece of work," says Dewey. It answers the fundamental question about inhalant abuse, he notes: namely, what is the direct effect of the substance on dopamine in the brain's reward center? Researchers should now investigate whether they can curb toluene addiction using compounds that block dopamine receptors, he says.
If I can't make Gryffindor, I want in Ravenclaw.
I think your dog would look better with glasses.
Think about it. It would definitely make him look more studious.
And if anybody asks, just say he reads too much.
Maybe like a pair of Mr Peabody glasses, he might like those.
The study on drug effects on spiders needs to add toluene.
I figure a pair of children's sunglasses, with the lenses removed would be the perfect size.
Then Jake would be a real chick magnet.
Time to outlaw paints and aerosols and etc etc. or at least put them behind the counter and make people sign for them when buying. We need to expand the War on Some Drugs to include these dangerous chemicals.
I'd prefeer that we outlaw stupidity, or at least increase the punishment.
Hoping, of course, that typos don't count as stupidity.
So you got rid of the girlfriend and kept the dog. Smart choice.
Looks like he picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
Are you kidding me? That crap's nasty just to think about. Aerosols, too. If you absolutely must get high, kids, stick with stuff that's at least kinda sorta safe for human consumption.
Works for me, back to sampling various delicacies.
Glad I didn't have a nice swill of coffee (or anything else) before reading your response.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
I'm pretty sure I learned that in Grade 6 in DARE, and I probably knew it before that. I mean, it's pretty self-evident that if you go around sniffing deadly chemicals you're not going to be improving your health.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is you have to have been sniffing a fair amount to think that its not bad for you.
My brother has been sniffing paint, cleaners and lacquer for years. He's a painter and forgets his mask half the time. Maybe that's why he's so paranoid. He lacquered our stairs to get rid of the previous owners cat smell and I had breathing problems and nausea for weeks afterwards and that was just from the lingering smell. Nasty stuff.
Mother Nature has already taken care of the punishment for stupidity. Have you ever seen the Darwin Awards?
I particularly enjoyed the one about the guy who decided to go "ice fishing" with dynamite.
He drove his SUV out on the ice, lit and threw a stick of dynamite, and then watched in horror as his dog ran to fetch the stick.
With all his whooping and hollering, the dog took shelter under the SUV, and then scurried away before the explosion.
So he bagged one SUV that day. Evil things, anyway, you know.
The problem is, we're fighting against Mother Nature. We coddle and reward the stupid, to the tune of millions in cash settlements for their confessed stupidity in insurance rip-offs.
I grew up in a body shop. Masks (or at least the ones we had back then) only stop particulates. The don't stop the fumes.
"He's a painter and forgets his mask half the time."
Be thankful, I guess, he's not a welder, a deep sea diver, or a parachutist.
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