Inhalant Addiction Laboratory
The abuse of inhaled chemical vapours to produce self-intoxication is a significant concern, especially among adolescent and Indigenous populations. Our data suggest that exposure to inhalants affects corticostriatal processes specifically and does not involve global toxicity to white matter pathways in the brain as was originally thought. Using this model we have also shown that exposure to inhalants during adolescence results in long-term metabolic dysfunction. This includes altering dietary preference and glycemic control. This novel finding suggests that adolescent inhalant abuse may increase the risk of adult onset disorders such as diabetes and has significant implications for our understanding of the long-term consequences, especially in Indigenous populations where there is a high degree of overlap between inhalant abuse and nutrition related illness.
The next step in our studies is to determine the underlying mechanisms, including both changes to central or peripheral mediated processes that drive the adverse outcomes observed in human abusers.
A glimpse at our researchThe effects of adolescent toluene exposure on metabolic function
The Division of Behavioural Neuroscience focuses on the use and development of models that reflect aspects of human disorders such as addiction, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, autism and neurodegenerative conditions such as Huntington’s disease. The Cognitive Neuroscience group additionally studies cognitive disorders caused by diseases such as stroke (cerebrovascular disease), Alzheimer's disease and other dementias from a clinical perspective.