Cocaine Dependence May Be Gene-Related
The BBC reports on a new study that finds people with a certain gene variation are more likely to become dependent upon cocaine.
The Institute of Psychiatry has ... identified a gene variation where cocaine would more markedly inhibit a protein that controls removal of key mood chemical dopamine in the brain. Two copies of the variant made people 50% more likely to be cocaine abusers.
[Cocaine's] key effect is that it strongly inhibits the action of a protein - DAT - which controls removal of excess dopamine from the junctions between nerve cells in the brain. This leads to nerve cells effectively being overloaded with dopamine, which is thought to contribute to the "high" associated with taking cocaine.
Not everyone is touting the study:
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