Cocaine is a hell of a drug, and it’s everywhere. Though use of the pricey white powder has fallen in the US in recent years, throughout the Western world people are still basically like, “Hey, cocaine? All right, let’s do some of that!” Naturally, the entrepreneurs who distribute the drug are always searching for a way to increase their profit margin, which means they’ll splice your “California cornflakes” (a real euphemism according to About.com) with all manner of unsavory additives. We asked Kim Gosmer, a chemist who specializes in the study of narcotics, to tell us what kind of hazardous stuff has found its way inside baggies recently.
I specialized in cocaine research during my time at the Section for Toxicology and Drug Analysis at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark. The cocaine I worked with included everything from small, impure street samples to high-grade bricks straight from the source. The latter was the most interesting, as it revealed the “science” used to enhance the effect of cocaine by adding adulterants. Most people know that cocaine is often diluted with fillers like sugars and creatine, and that these dilutions are disguised with caffeine, lidocaine, or benzocaine to mimic the stimulating and local anesthetic properties of cocaine. But only a few are aware that even more chicanery goes into what ends up in your baggie.
Keep reading http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/the-cash-is-in-the-cut?utm_source=vicefbanz
Your brain doesn’t come with an instruction manual.
The Dana Foundation’s annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), March 10-16, seems particularly appropriate and useful this time around, after a year in which brain-based disease models of human behaviors came under fire from social scientists and neuroscientists alike.
A recent analysis of the coverage of neuroscience in the popular press showed that the number of news articles using the terms "neuroscience" or "neuroscientist" had increased by a factor of 30 between 1985 and 2009. Moreover, the NIH’s massive Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, designed to speed up our understanding of the neural workings of the human brain in the years ahead, is in progress.
Brain Awareness Week, which takes place each year during the third week of March, is the global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) administers a BAW grants program for European partners.
During the week, campaign partners around the world organize activities to educate their communities about the brain and brain research. A product of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Brain Awareness Week “unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and more.”
In league with hundreds of governmental and private partner institutions around the world, BAW’s enormous calendar of events testifies to the success of this outreach. The week kicks off with an interview with Kelley Remole, Ph.D., the director of neuroscience outreach at Columbia University and the co-president of the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.
Here you will find a pile of publications and resources.
And here is a bunch of downloadable brain stuff for kids.
Go to Hey, Wake Up, It’s Brain Awareness Week
An international group led by Vanderbilt University researchers has found cannabinoid receptors, through which marijuana exerts its effects, in a key emotional hub in the brain involved in regulating anxiety and the flight-or-fight response.
This is the first time cannabinoid receptors have been identified in the central nucleus of the amygdala in a mouse model, they report in the current issue of the journal Neuron.
The discovery may help explain why marijuana users say they take the drug mainly to reduce anxiety, said Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., the paper’s senior author and professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.
Led by first author Teniel Ramikie, a graduate student in Patel’s lab, the researchers also showed for the first time how nerve cells in this part of the brain make and release their own natural “endocannabinoids.”
The study “could be highly important for understanding how cannabis exerts its behavioral effects,” Patel said. As the legalization of marijuana spreads across the country, more people — and especially young people whose brains are still developing — are being exposed to the drug.
Read more http://neurosciencenews.com/cannabinoid-receptors-amygdala-anxiety-833/
More discussion on reddit about the subject http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1zrwg5/researchers_have_found_cannabinoid_receptors/