Newsbriefs Researchers locate target for treating cocaine addiction New findings about cocaine's effects on the brain have proved that it should be possible to develop a drug to treat cocaine addiction. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions have identified the precise site where cocaine binds to an important brain protein: the dopamine transporter protein. Scientists also have learned that this cocaine-binding site can be disabled without affecting the protein's primary function. George Uhl, associate professor of neuroscience and neurology and acting director of NIDA's Intramural Research Facilities in Baltimore, said that a compound that chemically confirms research findings has been used in experiments. He cautioned, however, that the compound is relatively weak and not a candidate for use in treatment. Researchers currently have no such candidate, though the new findings should dramatically speed the search for more potent and selective compounds, he added. The recent discoveries have prompted a major collaboration between Guilford Pharmaceuticals, a Baltimore-based company specializing in treatments for neurological disorders, and the Abell Foundation, a philanthropy that supports research to solve drug abuse problems. Dr. Uhl will collaborate with the pharmaceutical company to develop his research toward an effective drug to treat cocaine addiction. Controlling allergies, asthma by eliminating triggers in the home A new book by Robert A. Wood, director of the Pediatric Allergy Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, encourages the more than 40 million asthma and allergy sufferers to first try eliminating in homes, offices and schools those things that trigger their reactions. The point of the book, "Taming Allergy and Asthma by Controlling Your Environment: A Guide for Patients," published by the Maryland chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, is that a large portion of allergic reactions caused by animal dander, dust mites, molds and cockroaches can be avoided. The result is healthier children and adults, fewer cases of asthma, fewer days missed at work and school, and a savings in the number of medical treatments. In the book, Dr. Wood lists 100 ways to eliminate or limit environmental triggers, discusses pros and cons of products currently on the market to treat asthma and allergies, and describes several case studies in which environmental control produced dramatic relief for his patients. He notes that the World Health Organization estimates 20 to 30 percent of office workers around the globe suffer from some form of sick building syndrome and that 30 percent of new or refurbished offices are at risk for it. The book is available in bookstores or by contacting the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of Maryland, at 532-4135. Women's varsity crew prepared to compete with world-class talent For the first time in its six-year history, the women's varsity crew has the talent to compete in the prestigious Royal Henley Women's Regatta to be held in mid-June. The problem is they don't have the funds to make the trip. At least not yet. The team is seeking about $6,000 to send the five-member boat to London for the event. Although a recent fund-raiser brought in enough money to buy a new training boat, it is not enough to cover training, travel, lodging and equipment expenses in London. Only the best athletes travel each year to compete in this international event. Each member of this year's team has distinguished herself as an exceptionally dedicated athlete, training year-round, both individually and as participants on other teams in the United States and Canada. "It's just not that often that you get such a competitive boat in which everyone is so evenly matched," said senior captain Maureen Abbey, the crew's third seat. "We will have a great chance to win the nationals [in Cincinnati on June 9 and 10]. But it is fascinating and inspirational to row against the Olympic-caliber crews that compete in regattas. "So, our ultimate goal is to get to London and win." School of Continuing Studies wins four marketing awards The School of Continuing Studies has received four marketing communications awards in the 1994 National University Continuing Education Association Marketing and Promotion Awards Competition. Two gold awards were received for a Division of Business and Management identity brochure and an advertising campaign displayed in Washington D.C. Metro transit cars. Two newsletters, The Advantage and Alumni News, were cited as bronze award winners. SCS representatives will receive the awards at the association's annual conference, held in Anaheim, Calif., in April. Roche seminar series fosters exchange of research advances Hoffman La Roche's ongoing seminar series designed to facilitate exchange of scientific ideas between the pharmaceutical industry and academia will continue on Friday, March 24, with a seminar on neuroscience at the School of Medicine in the Wood Basic Science Bldg., room 811. The seminar, titled "Update on Neuroscience," is the second in the Roche series on significant areas of scientific research. The series is designed to spark dialogue between industry and academia, ultimately paving the way for collaborative ventures and leading to opportunities for cooperation and synergy. The U.S. seminars are a continuation of a successful series which began in 1992 at European institutions and universities, including universities in the U.K., Italy and Austria. A final U.S. seminar will be held during the spring of 1995 at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Hopkins speakers will include Solomon Snyder, Richard Huganir and Jeremy Nathans.
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