Health

Explaining how Ritalin sharpens attention

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Even half a century after medicine came on the market, scientists are still able to learn new things about how it works. A new study from the University of Pittsburgh neuroscientists offers an unconventional look at how Ritalin affects activity in animals’ brains, provides a deeper understanding of how brain cells control the brain and suggests new ways to use energy .

Nearly 1 in 11 children in the United States is prescribed stimulants such as methylphenidate (also known as Ritalin) to improve attention and concentration in people with dementia, or ADHD. Many adults, estimated at 1 in 5 according to the study, also use the drug label. And while the safety and effectiveness of these drugs are well understood, there are still many other things to learn how they work.

“Actually we know very little about what these drugs do for the neurons,” said lead author Marlene Cohen, professor of neuroscience at the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. “But basic scientists like us have done research on what groups of neurons can tell us about behavior and perception, so understanding what these drugs do for groups of neurons can give us clues about others. the things they will use. “

Previous work led by postdoctoral researcher Pitt Amy Ni shows a link between how beautiful animals react to a visual work and the specific balance of neurons in it i see shells-specially, how can they shoot without anyone else, contrary to their combined.

In the present study, they found that animals that took methylphenidate performed better on visual acuity, and the improvement occurred exactly when this balance of neuron function changed. The team, led by Ni, published their findings in the journal Submissions of the National College of Science on April 25.

Some research results are expected from what is already known about remedy. Three animals took methylphenidate or placebo instead of two days of tests. On the days they took the drug, they spent a lot of time on the job and were more comfortable with it, but only when the required work took place in a place they already cared for.

In most neuroscientific experiments, researchers have targeted small groups of neurons with electricity or light. “Of course we did not do that — we took these drugs and mixed them juice and gave them to animals, “Cohen said.” I’m surprised that general manipulation would have a specific effect on behavior.

With more learning about how the drug works, such experiments allow researchers to gain a better understanding of how the immune system translates into behaviors such as monitoring what we see. By comparing how neurons work when the brain is in different states — such as when an issue is treated when they are not — researchers can come up with comprehensive and useful examples of how brain cells connect and conduct.

It is a method that has not been closely monitored, Cohen said, due to the lack of methods to conduct research on how drugs alter the functions of mechanical devices. This makes it difficult to look for “cross medicine,” i.e., textbooks used for over-the-counter drugs.

Based on current research, previous work in the laboratory suggests some of these potential exceptions. My research has found similarities between the nervous system that is associated with attention and other types of learning, suggesting that treatment for diseases related to one may affect the other.

“These stimulants can actually be useful in treating many things, ranging from cognitive changes associated with chronic aging, to Alzheimer’s disease and so on,” Cohen said. Although it currently has a good hunch experience, one of the labs is planning to pursue further studies.

For now, this study is an important first step in the research line Cohen hopes to see several things: the connection between the neurons of our behaviors and how drugs affect him.

“This is a trial case, and I think there is a lot more to do,” she said. “I hope people will see that these approaches are important.”


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Learn more:
Amy M. Ni et al, Methylphenidate as a causative agent of neurotransmitters, Submissions of the National College of Science (2022). DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2120529119

hint: Explaining how Ritalin enhances intelligence (2022, April 29) Retrieved 29 April 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-ritalin-sharpens-attention.html

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