Scientists manage to map a brain network involved in addictions

Scientists manage to map a brain network involved in addictions

VSThe results, the study authors hope, could help target future treatments for addiction to a range of substances. To determine where addictions were located in the brain, the researchers studied 129 patients (60% male, average age 56) who smoked daily and had brain damage.

While more than half continued to smoke normally after the injury, a quarter quit immediately without difficulty and even reported “no craving”, according to the study. The lesions associated with remission were located in several areas of the brain, but would all be linked to a specific network, believe the researchers, who mapped them in a number of brain areas called the “addiction remission network”.

They found that a lesion that caused a person to give up an addiction would likely affect parts of the brain like the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, lateral prefrontal cortex, and insular cortex, but not the medial prefrontal cortex. Previous research had shown that lesions affecting the insular cortex lessen addiction, but it had not taken into account other parts of the brain identified in this new study.

To confirm their findings, the researchers studied 186 patients with brain damage who completed an alcohol risk assessment. They found that the addiction-related brain network damage they found in smokers also reduced the risk of alcoholism, ” suggesting a shared web of addiction via these substances“.

In the eyes of the study’s author, Juho Joutsa, a neurologist at the Finnish University of Turku, the identified network provides a testable target for processing attemptsyou”. ” Some of the hubs of the network were located in the cortex, which could be targeted even with non-invasive neuromodulation techniques“, he told AFP. Neuromodulation brings together all the techniques used to modify the activity of the central, peripheral or autonomic nervous system. One such technique, a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil, was approved in May by the US Drug Agency (FDA) for obsessive-compulsive disorder, and is already targeting many of the same areas of the brain as the remission network. of addiction.

The study author hopes his research will help develop a coil that targets addiction. ” However, the best way to modulate this network still needs to be determined, and carefully designed trials to verify the clinical benefits of targeting the network still need to be determined.“, he clarified.

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