Science Explains Why Meth Addicts Look The Way They Do

Meth speeds up cell-level fat metabolism - which leads to the accelerated aging of people addicted to the drug.

Meth Effects: The Ravaged Faces Of Meth Result From Increase In Molecules Causing Cell Death

By now, most of us have seen the shocking before and after pics of people addicted to methamphetamines. Exactly what is happening inside each cell to cause such striking changes to a person’s face and body? 

Meth, scientists from the Italian Institute of Technology and UC Irvine say, causes abnormalities in the fat metabolism of cells and this triggers a rise in a type of molecule which promotes cell death. Understanding this, they say they can prevent the drug’s radical effects.

Physical Effects

Users say meth creates a feeling of euphoria along with increased energy and reduced appetite.

A psychostimulant, meth is highly addictive despite, or perhaps, because of the fact that it causes profound and long-lasting damage to the brain.

Post-mortem studies link the drug to diseases of aging, including coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and pulmonary fibrosis (scar tissue in the lungs).

Something is happening at the cellular level to cause these strange physical effects, but what is it?

For the current study, experiments on rats and mice allowed the researchers, in their own words, “to investigate the molecular mechanisms of systemic inflammation and cellular aging related to methamphetamine abuse.”

Specifically, they focused on the ways meth induces abnormalities of lipid metabolism in select regions of the brain and peripheral organs and tissues. Through experimentation, the scientists observed how meth accelerated “cellular senescence” — arrested cell growth — and influenced inflammation and other processes of cell regulation.

The chemical cascade caused by meth within each cell involves a specific protein, known as nuclear factor kappa beta. Under healthy conditions, this protein helps regulate other proteins that keep our bodies functioning.

See also: 10 famous geniuses and their drugs of choice

However, as each individual cell is overwhelmed by meth-induced signaling, nuclear factor kappa beta begins its own excessive signaling, which triggers a dramatic increase in the production of ceramide.

Normally, this lipid molecule regulates energy production and nutrient use within a cell, so when it’s suddenly amplified, every aspect of metabolism speeds up as well.

“We found this signaling process to be key for advanced cellular aging,” Dr. Daniele Piomelli, the Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences at UCI, stated in a press release.

Having identified meth’s effects on cells, Piomelli and his co-researchers decided to figure out a possible way to prevent the drug’s effects on the body.

If we can stop nuclear factor kappa beta, they reasoned, by increasing the body’s natural inhibitors of that protein, then we can limit the production of ceramide. This, in turn will prevent the harmful effects of meth — fast-forwarded cell aging and systemic inflammation.

See also: Top dangerous drugs in the world

“These results suggest new therapeutic strategies to reduce the adverse consequences of meth abuse and improve the effectiveness of abstinence treatments,” said Piomelli, who is working with colleagues at the Italian Institute of Technology to create new drugs targeting the specific cellular mechanisms identified in this research.

Source: Astarita G, Avanesian A, Grimaldi B, et al. Methamphetamine Accelerates Cellular Senescence through Stimulation of De Novo Ceramide Biosynthesis. PLOS ONE. 2015.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Ancient Virus Could be the Reason Humans can Think

An ancient virus could be responsible for human consciousness, giving you the ability to think for yourself. New research has linked a human gene responsible...

What you need to know about Nibiru – Planet X

Zecharia Sitchin described Nibiru according to Sumerian cosmology as the 12th planet. Nibiru is home to an alien race called the Anunnaki an extreme...

Could Earth become as barren as Venus? Climate change scientist James Hansen warns of a planet ‘not only ice-free but human-free’

Warns of 'Venus syndrome' - where global warming becomes so bad Earth can no longer sustain human life Controversial scientist Dr James Hansen has issued...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Ancient Paintings of UFO’s from 200 to 15.000 years ago

Ancient Paintings of UFO's Over the past 15,000 years UFOs have been clearly depicted in paintings from all around the world. This video features some...

Out of the Blue

OUT OF THE BLUE is widely considered one of the best documentary films ever made about UFOs and was directed by celebrated filmmakers James...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Ancient Virus Could be the Reason Humans can Think

An ancient virus could be responsible for human consciousness, giving you the ability to think for yourself. New research has linked a human gene responsible...

Antibiotics Give Rise to New Harmful Bacteria

Researchers identify unexpected activity of antibiotics, potentially reshaping our understanding of why antibiotics evolved and pointing to broad health implications Most people have taken an...

NASA Discovers Signs Of Gargantuan Ancient Ocean On Mars

Mars Once Had A Vast Ocean Covering One-Fifth Of Its Surface, New Research Suggests Scientists have long known there was once water on Mars, but...

Your Electricity Company Fears this Man

Electricity is the key to unleash world democracy and freedom It’s well know that many wars are fought over resources, many times oil and other...

‘Magic Mushrooms – Can Improve Long Term Psychological Well Being

According to John Hopkins of the school of medicine, psychedelic mushrooms or what are commonly known as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms” may have long...

5 Pieces of Monsanto ’s Corporate History We’re Not Supposed to Think About

Monsanto is quite possibly the world’s most hated company, but few know much of the history of this multi-national giant. “When a company claims its...

Anonymous Send Chilling Message To Westboro Baptist Church

If you don’t like something, you’re well within your rights to say so. The second you start acting upon and threatening violence against what it...

North Korea threatens Australia with nuclear strike

A THREAT from the despotic North Korea regime that Australia could face a "nuclear strike" if it continues to back the United States has...