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Snails On Meth Offer Insight Into Mind Of Human Addict

Methamphetamine addition is one of the toughest drug habits to break. The search for more effective treatments requires understanding what makes meth so potent.

Tom Banse reports that Washington State University researchers put snails on meth in the quest for insights.

Why snails? Washington State University researcher Barbara Sorg says the lowly critters have simple brain cells.

That makes it easier to study the effects of drugs.

Sorg co-authored a study just published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Her team found meth improved snail memory.

Drug abuse researchers are zeroing in on learning and memory processes to explain addiction. Sorg's next experiment will try to reverse the effects of meth on memory.

Barbara Sorg: "What we are really focusing in on is mechanisms that might produce forgetting. There are probably several mechanisms. In a cell, there are going to be a multitude of mechanisms that would produce forgetting."

Sorg says the ultimate goal is to try to diminish the potent and persistent memories in drug abusers so they aren't driven as strongly to seek the drug. I'm Tom Banse reporting.

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