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Study Determines that Fruit Flies Exposed to Methamphetamine Develop Fatal Anorexic Behavior


A new study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences has determined that fruit flies that are exposed to methamphetamine exhibit anorexic behavior that ultimately results in their death.

Humans who abuse methamphetamine display similar anorexic tendencies which include metabolic and behavioral changes leading to starvation.

Significant toxic effects

Researchers at the University of Illinois noted that the fruit flies (drosophila melanogaster) that were exposed to methamphetamine reduced their intake of food, and increased their physical activity. Methamphetamine use also produced significant toxic effects including the manufacture of poisonous metabolic by-products, changes in energy metabolism, and a decline in the strength and function of organs. Sugar metabolism is profoundly affected as well.

How does methamphetamine use affect energy metabolism?

However, up until now the exact process behind the metabolic disturbances among methamphetamine users has not been determined. It has been unclear whether or not methamphetamine exposure alters eating and activity behaviors, or if changes in metabolic function at a cellular level result in anorexia among users.

By monitoring the food intake and activity level of fruit flies exposed to methamphetamine, the researchers were able to determine that the fruit flies doubled their activity at the same time as lowering their food consumption by as much as 60 to 80 percent.

Interestingly, the metabolic rate of the fruit flies decreased; a strong indicator that metabolic changes play a less important role in methamphetamine induced anorexia. The addition of glucose to the diet of the fruit flies did lessen the rate of decline from anorexia.

More research is needed in order to gain a better understanding of the means by which methamphetamine use impacts the brain, resulting in anorexic behavior among users. The study also provides additional information to help researchers understand more about eating disorders such as anorexia.

Source: Medical News Today