Researcher finds key clues about “betel nut” addiction that plagues millions worldwide

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So the term betel nut refers actually to a little preparation of pieces of

actually a nut that comes from a palm called areca palm so these are the areca nuts

and the nut is usually a package of pieces of areca nut and some other flavorants

usually wrapped in a in a leaf it's the fourth most commonly used addictive

substance after you know alcohol and nicotine and caffeine it's really now very


appreciated that it is quite a health hazard in regard to a cancer-causing

agent and also other kinds of oral diseases that still estimated that at

least 300 million people are habitual users and now you can get off of ebay

and little foil packets in a preparation that is already cut up and you can just

chew and there have been a number of reports associated with the main

ingredient which is called a arecoline being useful to suppress inflammation so

our first discovery was really related to that these are from one of our first

experiments with the areca nut in my laboratory we have available all of the

clones which is to say the DNA necessary for us to artificially make all the

different kinds of brain nicotine receptors in a system where we

can study each typein isolation

and the way to help somebody reduce their craving for nicotine is to put a

low level stimulator of those specific receptors and that's what the drug

Chantix the one that's commonly used now for trying to help people quit smoking

does it gives a very low levels stimulation to these so-called alpha 4

containing alpha 6 containing nicotine receptors and what

emerged from our study of the broad range of nicotine receptors was that the

arecoline was just about effective on those receptors as the

chantix indicating that chantix could replace what arecoline was doing

to create a craving for the betel nut so it is a brand new idea by introducing a

possibility that it's treatable maybe we can get more interest in getting

support for its treatment it's not a problem that's going away

we've got a discovery here and we have to realize the potential of the

discovery and to better the human condition