Are you an alcoholic or one of those white people with a "jones" for cocaine? Researchers have produced a lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a safe vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. This novel strategy might be the first to offer cocaine addicts a fairly simple way to break and reverse their habit, and it might also be useful in healing other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin and other opiates. (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this special interview).
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Scientists have found there’s a gene that leads to alcoholism, a trait which runs in certain societies, such as the Irish and Native Americans, more than in others. Now they have found ANOTHER gene that protects against it (as well as a post-New Year’s hangover cure). This gene variant is associated with a person’s response to alcohol. For the 10 to 20% of people who have this gene, those first few drinks leave them feeling more inebriated than the rest of us, who have a different version of the gene, so they stop while other people keep going, and previous studies show that people who react strongly to alcohol are less likely to become alcoholics later in more