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‘Bath salts’ reduce communication in rat brains

One hour after taking the recreational drug MDPV, brain connectivity is lowered

3:30pm, November 17, 2014
bath salts, the stimulant drug

NOT FOR YOUR TUB  A group of stimulant drugs called bath salts lead to less communication between different parts of the brain in rats, a new study finds. 

WASHINGTON — The recreational drugs known as bath salts reduce communication between different areas of the brain in rats, new research finds. This decline may be tied to the depression and aggressive behavior that some users feel after taking the drugs.

Compared with control animals, rats dosed with one bath salt variant had less synchronized activity, or “functional connectivity,” among the 86 brain areas that the researchers examined.

“The higher the dose, the less connectivity you get in the brain,” says neuroscientist Marcelo Febo, who presented the research November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. “It causes a pretty global reduction.”

Bath salts are a group of stimulants that boost levels of dopamine, a messenger molecule related to reward and pleasure, as well as norepinephrine and serotonin, which play roles in attentiveness and mood. They are chemically similar to methamphetamine, cocaine

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