Navigation Links
Brain Scans Show Differences in Cocaine Addicts

Regions affected when thinking about drugs could be targets for treatments, researchers say

THURSDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) --Cocaine users appear to have less activity in the parts of their brains that monitor behaviors and emotions, a finding that researchers think may make them more vulnerable to addiction to the drug, a new research shows.

Using MRI scans, the researchers saw there were issues in these regions of the brain when cocaine users were given a test in which fast, correct answers -- some dealing specifically with drug use -- were rewarded with money. The issues persisted even when the addicts did as well as non-cocaine users on these tests.

"Whether these brain differences are an underlying cause or a consequence of addiction, the brain regions involved should be considered targets for new kinds of treatments aimed at improving function and self-regulatory control," study author Rita Goldstein, a psychologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, said in a news release issued by the lab.

The study results appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the experiment, a group of active cocaine users and demographically similarly but healthy non-users had to push a button that corresponded to a word related to either drug use (e.g., crack, addict) or a neutral term, depending on the scenario. Fast, accurate answers could earn the test subjects up to a maximum of $75 for the entire experiment.

Brain imaging showed that the part of the brain that normally becomes active when people monitor their own behavior was far quieter in the cocaine users, especially during the parts of the test in which no monetary rewards were being offered and only neutral terms were being used -- sections considered the least "interesting," according to the researchers. Participants who used cocaine most often during the previous month showed the least activity in this area of the brain.

During the section of the test of most interest to the cocaine users -- in which they could earn money for their answers and the terms being used were drug-related -- activity was much lower than their healthy peers in a part of the brain that usually becomes quiet when a person is suppressing emotions. This, the researchers said, suggests the cocaine users were trying to fight off drug cravings to focus on the succeeding at the test.

"When you really have to suppress a powerful negative emotion, like sadness, anxiety or drug craving, activity in this brain region is supposed to decrease, possibly to tune out the background 'noise' of these emotions so you can focus on the task at hand," said Goldstein, adding that thoughts of past drug use or using more drugs would be the "noise" in this scenario. She went on to note that the cocaine users reported high levels of "task-induced craving" during this portion of the test.

Treatments to improve and strengthen activity in the behavior- and emotion-monitoring portions of the brain -- both found in the anterior cingulate cortex region -- may help addicts regain self-control and decrease impulsive behavior, the researchers concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about cocaine.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy/Brookhaven National Laboratory, news release, May 25, 2009

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
2. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
3. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
4. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
5. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
6. Vaccine Stops Alzheimers Brain Tangles
7. Research may unlock mystery of autisms origin in the brain
8. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
9. Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
10. Alcoholics With Cirrhosis Have More Brain Damage
11. Brain Lesions Predict MS Progression
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Brain Scans Show Differences in Cocaine Addicts
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Until now, the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute ... of Myelomeningocele Study) trial. One of these exclusion criteria was a BMI above 34.9. ... to 24.9 is considered normal, 25 - 29.9 is overweight and above 30 is ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Thermi™, a world ... announce that its ThermiRFR temperature controlled radiofrequency platform has received CE marking and ... platform which uses temperature as a clinical endpoint. The technology has been ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The world of hair transplants and restoration is ... These techniques and procedures have been in use for many years and are among ... Parsa Mohebi, M.D. has utilized many of these methods over the years, he also ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The presidential race normally ... styling. So why is it a national news story when Donald Trump makes disparaging ... M.D., because appearances count more than anyone wants to admit when it comes to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... According to Los ... people to overeat are not necessarily caused by real hunger, but instead by ... needs food. He notes that, while many patients are aware that weight loss surgery ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: PHG ... Radiology Solutions, a fully integrated, consultative approach to ... data-driven practice management approaches that combine imaging systems, ... improve care delivery and reduce costs. Making its ... North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- global cell culture market is expected to ... by 2022 at a CAGR of 7.1% therein. --> ... 2013 value of US$6.1 bn to US$11.3 bn by 2022 at ... has announced the release of a new market research study, detailing ... Culture Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015   Royal Philips ... Implant, the industry,s first MRI guided user interface and ... of patients with MR Conditional implants, such as knee ... 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting ... and supports diagnostic confidence of this growing patient population. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: