Navigation Links
Drug-Related Images Trigger Brain's Reward Center

Addictive substances hijack brain areas tied to urges for food, sex

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Cocaine-related images can trigger the brain's emotional centers in drug addicts, even if they're unaware that they've actually seen such an image, says a study funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

University of Pennsylvania researchers used functional MRI to monitor brain activity in cocaine-addicted patients while drug-related photos, such as crack pipes and chunks of cocaine, were flashed in front of them for just 33 milliseconds -- so quickly that the patients weren't consciously aware that they were seeing the photos.

The images triggered activity in the limbic system, a brain network involved in emotion and reward that's been implicated in drug seeking and craving. Patients with the strongest brain response to the flashed images also had the strongest response when shown drug-related images for a longer period of time.

The study also found substantial overlap between regions of the brain activated by drug images and areas activated by sexual images. This supports the common scientific belief that addictive drugs hijack brain regions that recognize natural rewards, such as food and sex, the researchers said.

These findings could help lead to improved treatments for drug addiction, said study co-leader Dr. Anna Rose Childress.

"We have a brain hard-wired to appreciate rewards, and cocaine and other drugs of abuse latch onto this system. We are looking at the potential for new medications that reduce the brain's sensitivity to these conditioned drug cues that would give patients a fighting chance to manage their urges," Childress said in a prepared statement.

The study is published in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal PLoS One.

"This is the first evidence that cues outside one's awareness can trigger rapid activation of the circuits driving drug-seeking behavior," NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said in a prepared statement. "Patients often can't pinpoint when or why they start craving drugs. Understanding how the brain initiates that overwhelming desire for drugs is essential to treating addiction."

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about treatments for drug addiction.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, news release, Jan. 29, 2008

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Vital Images to Webcast Analyst and Investor Meeting at RSNA on Monday, November 26
2. Vital Images to Present at the CIBC World Markets 18th Annual Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, November 7
3. Voxant, the New Media Network, Distributes More Than 43,000 Health News Videos, Articles and Images
4. Chopped up proteins trigger autoimmunity
5. Molecule May Trigger Psoriasis
6. Protein power: Researchers trigger insulin production in diabetic mice
7. Scripps research scientists discover chemical triggers for aggression in mice
8. Patients need to know that nuclear medicine procedures can trigger radiation alarms
9. Pheromones identified that trigger aggression between male mice
10. 3 Common Drugs Trigger Most ER Visits by Seniors
11. St. Jude Researchers Identify Key Genetic Trigger of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics, consumer health and global clinical ... will present at the upcoming Clinical Trial Supply East Asia Conference, to be ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Preparing for ... p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST, , FDA has long asserted that ... regulations apply to performing the tests and do not meet the device regulations. , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Brillouin Energy Corp. Congress ... the developer of renewable energy technologies capable of producing commercially useful amounts of ... that its WET™ and HHT™ Boiler System reactor core modules were presented to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PLAINSBORO, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... experts will gather to share their knowledge and experiences at a live taping ... during the Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2015 Symposium at ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Marne, MI (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... has released a series of recent video interviews with some of the staff members ... life at the residential treatment facility, as well as some of the things that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Avery Biomedical Devices (ABD), manufacturer of the Avery ... of Anders Jonzon , MD; Ph.D. as clinical ... Dr. Jonzon is a Physiologist and consultant in ... Uppsala and Children,s Hospital, Karolinska, Stockholm, Sweden ... the Cardiovascular Institute (UCSF). His research has covered circulation, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... of the University of Bern ... Nutrition of the Bern University Hospital "Inselspital" are proud ... develop a novel generation artificial pancreas. Combining a fully ... for diabetic patients with the unequalled accuracy of an ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced today ... Services, Education and Human Resources will be presenting in the ... Health Plan Strategies for a Dynamic Market" on Dec. 1, ... a consultant with the Cambridge Advisory Group, where she leads ... The webinar will discuss the rapid growth of oral ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: