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Research finds bath salts could lead to Alzheimers cure

By LAKIN TURNER
On September 28, 2012

The latest addition to the list of synthetic drugs is causing widespread concern among drug addiction experts, but some research indicates the substance might potentially be used in the battle against Alzheimers disease.

Last summer, mephedrone, known as bath salts, made headlines and was on the fast track to being completely outlawed.

One of the first studies conducted on the drug demonstrated its effects on the brain of a rat were similar to those of the drug Ecstasy.

Brand names such as Cloud Nine, Ivory Wave and Blue Silk contain bath salt stimulants.

The chemicals have not been scientifically tested in humans and are not approved for medical use in the United States.

Kim Miller, master addiction counselor and director of corporate development at Prestera Center in Barboursville, said the effects are extremely dangerous.

There have been many cases locally of permanent brain damage observed in people that have used bath salts, including persistent and intractable, or untreatable, psychosis, Miller said. These drugs are so new that we really dont know the short term or long term psychoactive effects.

The bath salts, with amphetamine-like qualities, have not been banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration yet.

However, a 2005 study in the Journal of Neuroscience indicated that some of the chemical compounds in bath salts actually could aid in the development of therapeutic drugs.

In research on animals, one of the substances, JWH-133, has been shown to decrease the inflammation caused by a certain protein. This protein has been linked to the build up of plaque in the brains of Alzheimers patients.

The active ingredients in bath salts have not been tested on humans.

If the drug was banned, further research on the possibility of developing new legitimate uses would be impossible, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The media has covered the multiple psychotic episodes of the zombie like nature of the drugs effects.

Other reports show that anxiety, kidney failure and severe paranoia are also effects of bath salts.

Lakin Turner can be contacted at turner136@marshall.edu.

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