Description of the Module
This module focuses on the chemical process of oxidation and reduction initiated by drugs such as methamphetamine. The oxidation causes the formation of free radicals which damage specific neurons in the brain. In this unit, the role of oxygen in oxidative reactions within the body to maintain normal function and to promote cell damage is presented. The concept of oxygen radicals is introduced and the ability of oxygen radicals to attack (oxidize) cellular lipids, proteins and DNA is described. The exercise demonstrates how oxidation of these cellular components initiated by drugs such as methamphetamine causes the cells to degenerate. Similar reactions occur in response to normal aging, radiation and in neurodegenerative diseases.