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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
15-Feb-2007

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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
@uclanewsroom

UCLA expert to discuss medical consequences of meth abuse at AAAS

WHAT: At the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Science, UCLA, will be part of a panel of world-renowned neuroscientists presenting recent advances in brain-imaging that have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic disease. The addiction symposium will be preceded by an AAAS news briefing highlighting key speakers, including London, and their findings.

WHO: Edythe London, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology with the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Science at UCLA. A neuropharmacologist, her primary research contributions are in the application of brain imaging methods to the study of substance abuse. Her research aims to develop a better understanding of such addictive disorders as methamphetamine, nicotine, and alcohol, using a translational approach toward rational design of therapeutics.

WHEN/WHERE: News Briefing; Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007, 1-2 p.m. PST, AAAS Briefing Room, Nikko Ballroom III, 3rd floor Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA Symposium; Friday, Feb. 16, 2007, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. PST, Hilton San Francisco, Ballroom Level, Continental Ballroom 6 Reporters can view a live webcast of the symposium at http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=37973

BACKGROUND: Drug abuse is one of the world's most challenging public health problems, causing great human suffering and taking a tremendous societal toll with a cost of $484 billion per year in the United States alone. And Methamphetamine (MA) abuse is the fastest growing drug abuse problem in the world. Still, effective treatments for MA dependence are lacking. London's presentation will review the medical consequences of MA abuse, including inhibitory control deficits and the links between MA dependence and risky behavior. Her presentation will review how various brain imaging techniques have been used to help understand brain dysfunction in individuals with MA dependence, with an emphasis on defective control mechanisms involving the prefrontal cortex and limbic system.

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