Marshall University researcher using mice to determine if vaping flavors are addictive

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The Centers for Disease Control says more than 2,000 people have been hospitalized due to vaping-related illnesses, with more than 50 deaths as of Jan. 7.

Skylar Cooper is a biomedical research graduate student at Marshall University. She was just awarded at $50,000 pharmacology/toxicology predoctoral research fellowship from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association Foundation.

Cooper is researching vaping flavors and how they alter the brain, with and without nicotine. She says based on the data gathered from vaping mice, people who use vape pens with flavors and nicotine are more likely to be addicted to nicotine. Cooper added, based on her research, the chemical changes that happen in the brain for nicotine appear to be happening with flavors by themselves in mice.

“If you were to take any other drugs, you’re ultimately priming your brain for other drug addictions because of these neurological changes that are occurring,” Cooper said.

Cooper says there currently aren’t any studies like this with humans, only mice. She says she wanted to do this study given the rise of vaping with teenagers and she hopes her research can contribute to reducing that number.

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