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GABA, memory, and drug addiction

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Sat Feb 20 20:57:48 EST 1999


In <7albhr$3v08$1 at newssvr04-int.news.prodigy.com> LEZQ40C at prodigy.com
(Patti Muensterman) writes: 
>
>  The reason gabamenergics have recently been shown to be effective in

>decreasing the desire to use certain narcotics such as cocaine and
heroin 
>may be the result of re-arranging neural networks so that they don't 
>trigger drug-related memories in the same manner that epileptics have 
>deja vu after heavy electrical activity in the brain before seizures.
I 
>would like to hear your ideas on why the gabamanergics reduce drug 
>cravings.
>

Not familiar with lit on GABA agonists and addiction.  Have seen
suggestions that rapid "reprogramming" of cortical representations
after peripheral nerve cuts might be due not to formation of new
circuits but simply release of previously inhibited ones (perhaps a
GABA antagonist effect).

Don't think you'd have to "re-arrange" circuits, however, to weaken
effect of "triggering" stimuli: should suffice just to bias system to
higher threshold for triggering.

re deja vu: don't think it has anything to do with evoking of
(veridical) memories; believe it has to do with activity in specific
location (and therefore due only to some kinds of seizures)--viz., the
uncus (cf. Hughlings Jackson and "uncinate fits").  Believe it is
triggering of "sense of familiarity", which is only accidently
conjoined with whatever the individual is experiencing at the moment.
That is, bypassing normal route for memory/familiarity conjunction, and
making CURRENT EXPERIENCE seem like a vivid memory.

(Discussed this and related issues in Internat. J. of Neuroscience a
few years ago, but don't have reference at hand.  Will post later if I
find it.)

Welcome comments from people familiar with lit on GABA and addiction.
(And/or Matt Jones, the GABA maven!)

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
New York Neuropsychology Group



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