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I credit the invention of the saxophone and the jazz idiom for the immense life enjoyment and significant side income they provide me.

I never imagined that I could credit these too for scientific knowledge I utilize in my day job as a neuroscientist (on brain mechanisms of impulsivity and drug abuse!

The other day saw the passing of a jazz trumpeter and an absolute godfather in the field of drug abuse and addiction brain research, Dr. Bob Schuster. His work was foundational in showing how animals could be trained to self-administer drugs of abuse, such as by pressing a lever in a cage. Using this model, the field has exploded knowledge on what conditions (like maternal contact deprivation) or gene variants lead to increased drug self-administration, or what medications might curb it, for example.

Here's a link to his accomplishments in greater detail:

http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/...ster.php?utm_source=selectfeed&utm_medium=rss

This work led Schuster to serve at the helm of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, where I work.*

What I never knew (until his passing was discussed around here) was that his interest in drug self-administration research was inspired after doing gigs in clubs in the 40s and 50s, and seeing all those jazzers shoot up heroin (and what it did to them).

Science is still marching on, working on discovering what causes the minority of experimenters and recreational substance users to lose control. Schuster's work and subsequent research it inspired has been crucial in this process.

*Please don't derail this into a political thread on whether taxpayer money should go to biomedical addiction research, whether animals should be used in biomedical research, or whether drugs should be decriminalized. You'll get this thread locked, and you probably won't change any minds. That's a discussion to have with your elected representative. Thanks.
 

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Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member
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Wow.

RIP.

Fascinating stuff. That is quite a contibution to the overall field of psychology, IMO. Sure, it's easy to start with hard drugs, but how much of this research helps with all addictive behavior and why some of us compulse so strongly.

Thank you for informing me of this mans contribution. As someone in recovery I thank him for it as well. Surely some of his research has contibuted to the attitude change toward addicts and treatment by revealing the strong connections to the physical and psychological impulsing and the perspective it brings to the "morality" of addicts.

Thank you Dr. Bob Schuster
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
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Interesting. My day job is consulting in research, program evaluation, and training in substance abuse, mental health, and HIV services.
 

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Tremendous post thankyou. I have been clean and sober eight years. Advanced research into addiction, has made it very real in the UK....to get the help needed, whilst working with realistic goals, and an attitude of forward thinking. Dr. Kevin White..UK, was another great thinker on addiction. I have made a real mess of this post....so hard to convey such deep emotion. I hope you get my thing.....a
 
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