Living on Earth’s Jessica Penney reports on a new vaccine being developed to fight nicotine addiction.
Just ahead, the life and hard family times of a man obsessed with corn. First, this Environmental Health Note from Jessica Penney.
[MUSIC UP AND UNDER]
PENNEY: Scientists are developing a unique weapon against cigarette smoking. Researchers at a British drug company are testing a vaccine designed to stop the body from developing a nicotine addiction. Usually, when someone smokes a cigarette, nicotine enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain.
Once in the brain, nicotine gives the smoker a pleasurable buzz and physical addiction begins. But, after receiving a series of these experimental vaccines, the immune system produces antibodies that bind to nicotine and prevent it from entering the brain. Because nicotine doesnt enter the brain, the smoker experiences no pleasurable effects. And so, no addiction develops.
But, by the same token, smokers can no longer satisfy their nicotine cravings and get a cigarette high. This makes for a possibly unpleasant, but effective, way to quit smoking, since the smoker is forced to go cold turkey. And, once the nicotine addiction is broken, the vaccine negates cigarettes pleasant effect on the brain so theres no incentive to pick up the habit again.
And, if fighting nicotine addiction wasnt enough, the company is also working on an anti-cocaine vaccine. Thats this weeks Health Note. Im Jessica Penney.
CURWOOD: And youre listening to Living on Earth.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.
Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.