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Investigators find that bile acids reduce cocaine reward

by Aug. 30, 2018, 3:19 PM

Bile acids — gut compounds that aid in the digestion of dietary fats — reduce the desire for cocaine, according to a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS Biology, suggest that targeting bile acid signaling in the brain may be a novel way to treat cocaine abuse.

Vanderbilt investigators Charles (Robb) Flynn, PhD, associate professor of Surgery, and Naji Abumrad, MD, John L. Sawyers Professor of Surgical Sciences, have long studied the metabolic changes associated with bariatric surgery for weight loss. Surgical patients experience dramatic changes in glucose regulation and in taste preferences and food cravings while they are still in the recovery room, Flynn said.

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