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Neuropharmaceutical for U.S. Problems?

Chip Reuben creuben at sunstroke.sdsu.edu
Tue Feb 20 03:33:12 EST 1996

Consider the possibility of developing a pharmaceutical agent that would 
increase synergism among peoples.  Corporations, psychiatrists, 
families....everyone could benefit from such a substance.  Indeed, the 
idea sounds far-fetched (there is no true panacea), but a theoretical 
approach to the development of this drug(s) or other treatment and an 
animal testing model for it is quite feasible.

I suggest the following approach for the development of the human 
cohesion drug (or perhaps, device).  First, I propose that areas of the 
brain such as the hypothalamus, hippocampus and limbic system would be 
involved in cohesive behavior, since these centers are involved with the 
experience of pleasure, behavior and emotion, respectively.  The 
development of a pharmaceutical should be focused on one that would 
produce particular modifications in this general portion of the brain.

In order to identify what types of changes in our temporal lobes we are 
trying to achieve, some socio-psycho-biological research would be 
required.  This type of research is interdisciplinary and would require 
the coalition of scientists from four disciplines:  sociology, 
psychology, neurobiology and medicine.  It is easy to imagine the 
infinite design of research studies involving all of these disciplines 
and it would be quite impossible for me to even crack the surface here, 
as to how to approach the research in detail.  I'll leave the design 
ideas to my readers (although I am quite capable of designing quite a 
few of my own).  I will emphasize, however, that only highly creative 
and optimistic, yet knowledgeble and critical scientists would be 
qualified to design and orchestrate the research.

Ultimately the drug must be tested.  Although primates would be ideal 
for the testing of such a pharmaceutical, these animals are quite 
expensive.  But whatever animal is tested, one particular behavior 
should be observed for - cohesion.  Do a group of animals maintain a 
lesser average distance from one another under the influence of the drug 
as compared to control animals?  Or do they approach one another with 
increasing frequency?  Longer periods of contact?  

What changes in the temporal lobe would accompany such increases in 
cohesive behavior.  Glucose metabolism?  Neurotransmitter release or 
uptake?  Complex changes in patterns of action potentials?  Would 
changes in the brain concommitant to cohesive behavior be too complex to 
be monitored with modern technology?  Perhaps, but this research is 
worthy of investigation.  Indeed, money has been spent on, in the 
opinion of many, more frivolous pursuits.

Please send any ideas, critisizms, suggestions or other thoughts to me 
at creuben at sunstroke.sdsu.edu

																																								Thank you for reading,

																																								Chip Reuben, M.S.  


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