Sara B. Taylor
Arizona State University, USA
Sara Taylor completed her PhD in 2011 from the University of Maryland Baltimore. Currently she is a postdoctoral associate in the Behavioral Neuroscience program in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. Her research is working to bridge the gap on the understanding of how chronic stress alters vulnerability to drug addiction, particularly at the cognitive level.
Methamphetamine is a widely abused drug, with potent addiction liability and often devastating effects on the abuser’s physical and psychological health. Chronic stress is an important risk factor for the development of addiction and related behaviors, and the majority of research in this area has focused on the effects of stress on stimulant drugs. However, within these studies, the stimulant drugs used are almost exclusively amphetamine and cocaine. Interestingly, the preponderance of research examining chronic stress and methamphetamine concentrates on parallel effects and interactions on neurotransmitter depletion and neurotoxicity. This is consistent with the traditional use of methamphetamine to study the neurotoxic effects of amphetamines. We recently embarked on a line of research to expand the study of chronic stress and methamphetamine to include the examination of addiction-like behaviors. Preliminary studies have examined the effects of adult exposure to chronic variable stress on the locomotor stimulating properties of methamphetamine in addition to acquisition, extinction and reinstatement of methamphetamine-induced conditioned place preference. Results of these studies and the parallels between chronic stress effects on amphetamine-induced outcomes in similar measures will be discussed.