Monday, March 12, 2007

Duh! Nicotine is addictive, even for squirrel monkeys

In the name of science, they are getting squirrel monkeys addicted to nicotine too.

"This study is the first of its kind to evaluate the motivational value of nicotine in experimentally naive monkeys. "

They found: "These results demonstrate that nicotine plays a critical role in maintaining smoking behaviour," said lead researcher Dr. Le Foll. "
Yes, the nicotine itself is what addicts people. Sure, there is the ritual involved with smoke breaks, such as oral gratification and chat breaks through the day, but for these monkeys, it's all about the nicotine.

"In these tests, the animals could voluntarily self-administer nicotine by pressing on a lever. Receiving nicotine was associated with distinctive environmental cues, to mimic the situation associated with tobacco smoke in humans. Whereas animals initially showed no preference for the active lever, over time a strong preference for the lever delivering nicotine developed. Animal subjects were motivated to press a lever up to 600 times to get a single injection of nicotine.
"This clearly demonstrates a high motivation to get nicotine that develops over time", said Dr. Le Foll. "

They say their goal is to find better drugs to treat tobacco dependence. So much for not getting exposed in the first place.

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