Sunday, March 26, 2017

Week 8

I found both papers this week to be highly intriguing. I do public health research on addiction and we spend a lot of time discussing the complex nature of this disease and the variety of factors that can affect the development and outcome of an addiction. I found these two papers to pair together well but I had a slight preference for Vassoler's. I found the sex differences to be an interesting find, especially as they mentioned how the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, is larger in males than females and additionally how progesterone detracts from the effects of cocaine. Its also interesting how their results oppose the notion that addiction to cocaine is heritable. If this finding is based in fact and is applicable in humans, it would mean that the epidemiological studies that show a higher rate of addiction in offspring of addicts, are engaging in this behavior because of non-genetic factors.
Holly's paper also explores the sex differences in cocaine addiction and utilizes the same social defeat model we have seen before. The two papers results aren't exactly contradictory but Holly's does explore the female susceptibility to stress and the resulting longer binges of cocaine that Vassoler did not consider. I find this to be evidence against their assumption that it is brain region size, or hormone changes that make their male mice more effected. These clearly play a role in the sexes relationship with cocaine but the evidence of specific binging behavior and susceptibility to stress being higher in females in Hollys paper certainly raises questions about the conclusions made in Vassolers. 

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