Cue exposure therapy in methamphetamine addiction by A/Prof Jee Hyun Kim

Posted on July 11, 2019

Associate Professor Jee Hyun Kim is an Australian behavioural neuroscientist and her work focuses on emotional learning and memory during childhood and adolescence. She is an active science communicator and principal research fellow and Head of Developmental Psychobiology Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia. Prof Kim is also Adjunct Associate Professor at Icahn School of Medicine, Mt Sinai Hospital, NY. 

Author Quotes:  

We have observed that cue extinction is not effective in animal models of anxiety disorders, and here we see it with the meth-associated cue, and also this is consistent with findings in the clinic where they report that adolescents are more resistant to cognitive behavioural therapy that involves exposure therapy.

If we actually up the dose and they self-administered, it turned out that adults and adolescents were the same in terms of how much of the drug they gave themselves. But then, when we increased the dose again, we saw this emergence where adults learned to titrate.

Summary and slides:  

Professor Kim begins this second part of her presentation with a look at cue exposure therapy.  

She looks at dose-response curves to understand the effect of adolescent exposure and how drug-taking during adolescence results in a change in subsequent behaviour. 

Moving on to take a look at where this vulnerability may come from, Prof Kim presents data that show the emergence of age-effect and how adults learn to titrate the dose they give themselves. 

She concludes this part of the presentation with a look at how adolescent vs adult onset of methamphetamine use changes the brain, the relationship between self-administration and the dopamine pathway, and in gene expression. 

Take Home Points:  

  • Cue-induced relapse measures drug-seeking when the drug-association cue is presented. 
  • Data suggest that adolescents are no more intrinsically likely to relapse than adults. 
  • Adolescents take more methamphetamine with a dose increase. 
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