A new study conducted by the Medical University of Vienna found that cravings endured by those who suffer from an opioid substance use disorder can persist in the brain even after the individual dies.

Researcher Monika Seltenhammer, from MediUni Vienna’s Department of Forensic Medicine, stated that the study is important because it provides insight into more effective aftercare treatment.

In addition, researchers wrote that there is growing evidence that the drivers behind drug addiction are provoked by sustained changes in gene expression, a process in which information stored within a gene becomes useful.

The study, published in the Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, and focused on the protein FosB, which conveys genetic information between cells and determines whether certain genes are activated. FosB becomes DeltaFosB when there is a constant supply of drugs that are taken. DeltaFosB is constantly stimulated in cases of chronic drug use and influences changes in the brain in the region where memory is located. It also has an unusually high degree of stability and therefore has a conspicuously longer half-life.

DeltaFosB creates what researchers called “dependence memory,” which is essentially a sense of craving. Researchers were able to… (continue reading)