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Ritalin May Change Brain Long-Term - New Study

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    Ritalin May Change Brain Long-Term - New Study 11-12-01 http://www.rense.com/general16/termasd.htm WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The stimulant Ritalin, a drug used to
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2001
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      Ritalin May Change Brain Long-Term - New Study

           Ritalin May Change Brain Long-Term - New Study
           11-12-01
          
           http://www.rense.com/general16/termasd.htm
          
           WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The stimulant Ritalin, a drug used to help
           children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, may cause
           long-term changes in the brain, researchers reported Sunday.
            
           The changes look similar to those seen with other stimulants such as
           amphetamine and cocaine, at least in rats, the team at the University
           of Buffalo found.
            
           ``Clinicians consider Ritalin to be short-acting,'' Joan Baizer, a
           professor of physiology and biophysics who led the study said in a
           statement.
            
           ``When the active dose has worked its way through the system, they
           consider it 'all gone.' Our research with gene expression in an animal
           model suggests that it has the potential for causing long-lasting
           changes in brain cell structure and function.''
            
           But Baizer said that Ritalin, known generically as methylphenidate,
           probably is not addictive in the way drugs of abuse are if it is used
           properly.
            
           ``Children have been given Ritalin daily for many years, and it is
           extremely effective and beneficial, but it's not quite as simple as a
           short-acting drug,'' she said. ``We need to look at it more closely.''
            
           High doses of amphetamine and cocaine have been found to switch on
           genes known as ``immediate early genes'' in brain cells. One of the
           genes, called c-fos, has been linked with addiction when it is
           activated in certain parts of the brain.
            
           The researchers gave rat pups sweetened milk carrying methylphenidate
           in comparable doses and at similar times to what a child would get.
            
           C-fos genes were activated in their brains in a pattern similar to
           that seen in cocaine and amphetamine use, the researchers told a
           meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.
            
           ``These data do suggest that there are effects of Ritalin on cell
           function that outlast the short term and we should sort that out,''
           Baizer said.
            
           She said perhaps a gene chip -- a microarray -- could be used to see
           just which genes are turned on and off by methylphenidate.

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