openPR Logo
Press release

Addiction research uncovers potential of social interaction

07-11-2016 04:32 PM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education

/ PR Agency: PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
Animals prefer contact with other animals rather than drug consumption. – This has been shown by neuroscience studies providing first-time evidence of the positive impact of social interaction and opening up new therapeutic avenues.

After talking things over with one's best friend, the world is a happier place again. – People who have made this experience know just what positive effects social interaction can have on one's sense of well-being. Researchers from Innsbruck now set out to conduct neurological investigations to establish how much potential there really is in social interaction with one's peers. Using animal tests, the neurobiologist Rana El Rawas and fellow researchers Gerald Zernig and Alois Saria from the Medical University of Innsbruck have already been able to demonstrate the positive effect of social interaction with respect to drug dependence.

Natural rewards are stronger
In sophisticated test arrays, El Rawas, Junior Researcher at the Experimental Psychiatry Unit, studied what happens in certain areas of the brain in cases of drug consumption or social interaction. It has been shown that almost the same areas in the brain's reward centre are activated in both cases. As the experiments have proven, the effect of social interaction was so strong that it could even result in erasing the addiction memory. When given a choice, the cocaine-dependent animals increasingly preferred animal companions over drugs. "Our current research focus aims at investigating the effect of social interaction at molecular level in order to help drug dependent persons in finding a way out of addiction through positive social experiences, and we want to use these insights for preventing drug dependence", explains Rana El Rawas.

Innovative approaches
With support from the Austrian science fund FWF, the neurobiologist is now studying the mechanisms underlying the positive effect of social interaction. She explores what signalling pathways are triggered by a natural reward such as "meeting a friend" as opposed to the reward triggered by drug consumption. – With her method El Rawas is pursuing a novel approach shifting the focus from the commonalities to the differences between natural reward and drug reward. The young scholar hypothesises that the two reward systems communicate through different neuronal networks. One of the issues studied by the research team from Innsbruck is the significance of the signalling path of CREB (cAMP response element binding protein), a protein that plays an important role in the effect of drugs. In the process, the scientists also want to find out whether the rewarding effect of social interaction is as persistent as that of drug consumption.

The anti-stress effect
In another ongoing FWF project, El Rawas was able to demonstrate that certain brain areas react to social interaction by a lowered stress response. "Playing with another animal reduces the level of the p38 protein, which increases upon drug consumption but also in response to stress or fear", the scientist elucidates. El Rawas now intends to delve deeper into the anti-stress effect of social rewards by demonstrating the impact of p38 on stress behaviour and dependence disorders and by decoding an even greater number of molecular factors in the brain. "Apart from facilitating effective approaches in behavioural therapy, these findings could open up new vistas for developing drugs against addiction and other mental disorders", says Rana El Rawas.

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Rana El Rawas
Experimental Psychiatry Unit
Medical University of Innsbruck
Innrain 66a
6020 Innsbruck
T +43 / 699 / 104 068 80
E rana.el-rawas@i-med.ac.at
W http://www.plasmaspiegel.at/

Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Marc Seumenicht
Haus der Forschung
Sensengasse 1
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
E marc.seumenicht@fwf.ac.at
W http://www.fwf.ac.at/en

Distribution:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
Mariannengasse 8
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
E contact@prd.at
W http://www.prd.at/en

FWF Austrian Science Fund

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.

The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.

Distribution:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
Mariannengasse 8
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
E contact@prd.at
W prd.at/en

This release was published on openPR.

Permanent link to this press release:

Copy
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.

You can edit or delete your press release Addiction research uncovers potential of social interaction here

News-ID: 348232 • Views: 518

More Releases for Austria

Agrochemicals Market in Austria
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021) to its growing collection of premium market research reports. The report “Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021)” provides market intelligence on the different market segments, based on type, active ingredient, formulation, crop, and pest. Market size and forecast (2016-2021) has been provided in terms of both, value (000 USD) and volume (000 KG) in the report. A
Nazi psychology in Austria
The history of academic psychology after the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, and its role as a discipline used in National Socialist policies is being examined systematically for the first time in a research project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. "It is a sad fact”, says psychologist Gerhard Benetka from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna "that applied psychology flourished during the National Socialist era
Creative Austria meets creative Russia
Euroforum: communicatin ready for the next lap Vienna. On 22nd of October 2009 the advertising association Vienna invites again to the annual Euroforum: communication event, platform for European communication, guaranteeing an interesting mix of “connecting businesses and communications”. The Event takes place in Studio 44, Vienna. Focus point Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sotschi) The main goal of the Euroforum is to promote and establish business relations and synergies between
New partner in Germany and Austria
Newly-appointed Noliac Group partner Mr. Stamm will react to increasing mid-European demand by being close to customers and ensure proficient piezo support at hand. Mr. Ralf Stamm is former Key Account Manager of Physik Instrumente (PI) and has the expertise to provide Noliac Group's customers with a first class support within the field of piezoceramics. 17 years of piezo experience As of August 4th 2009, Mr. Ralf Stamm became Noliac Group’s
Winning Business in Germany, Austria & Switzerland Workshop
Wednesday, 29th April 2009 8.30am –12.30pm Enterprise Ireland, The Plaza, East Point Business Park, Dublin 3 A round table session on the unique business cultures, opportunities and strategies associated with and required in Europe’s German-speaking markets. This workshop, facilitated by Enterprise Ireland with support from the Ariston Group, a German based consultancy company, and Trinity College, Department of Germanic Studies, has been designed to bring Irish companies quickly up to speed with the
Archaeological Sensation in Austria
Scientists from the University of Vienna unearth the earliest evidence of Jewish inhabitants in Austria Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child's grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of