Researchers Identify New Brain Pathways Linked to Addiction: Manipulating newly identified pathways can reduce drug addiction behavior, a new study reports.
“Current drug therapies are generally poor because we still don’t completely understand how the brain’s neural circuits contribute to different forms of relapse,” said first author of the study, Dr Asheeta Prasad from UNSW’s School of Psychology.
“Mapping these circuits is crucial if we are to move forward in treating drug and alcohol addiction,” Dr Prasad said.
The UNSW researchers identified for the first time that two distinct VP output brain pathways are necessary for different forms of alcohol addiction -related relapse. They found that the brain pathways from the VP to the subthalamic nucleus, a small lens-shaped nucleus in the brain, and the ventral tegmental area, part of the mid-brain, are switched on during relapse behaviour. Their study has identified a novel node in the brain circuitry for relapse
When the researchers switched off these brain pathways, drug seeking behavior and motivation for alcohol was reduced in rats.
The finding opens up the potential for using deep brain stimulation in the treatment of addiction. Full details