Intellectual Pursuits May Buffer the Brain Against Addiction

Posted Jul 18, 2015

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new University of California (UC) Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.
 
Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that those rodents whose daily drill included exploration, learning and finding hidden tasty morsels were less likely than their enrichment-deprived counterparts to seek solace in a chamber where they had been given cocaine.
 
“We have compelling behavioral evidence that self-directed exploration and learning altered their reward systems so that when cocaine was experienced it made less of an impact on their brain,” said Linda Wilbrecht, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the paper published in the journal, Neuropharmacology.
 
By contrast, mice who were not intellectually challenged and/or whose activities and diets were restricted, were eager to return to the quarters where they had been injected with cocaine for weeks on end.
 
“We know that mice living in deprived conditions show higher levels of drug-seeking behavior than those living in stimulating environments, and we sought to develop a brief intervention that would promote resilience in the deprived animals,” said study lead author Josiah Boivin, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at UC San Francisco who conducted the research at UC Berkeley as part of his thesis work.
 
Drug abuse and addiction rank among the world’s more costly, destructive and seemingly insurmountable problems. Previous studies have found that poverty, trauma, mental illness and other environmental and physiological stressors can alter the brain’s reward circuitry and make us more susceptible to substance abuse.
 
The good news about this latest study is that it offers scalable interventions against drug-seeking behaviors, albeit through evidence based on animal behavior.
 
“Our data are exciting because they suggest that positive learning experiences, through education or play in a structured environment, could sculpt and develop brain circuits to build resilience in at-risk individuals, and that even brief cognitive interventions may be somewhat protective and last a relatively long time,” Wilbrecht said.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/13/brain-addiction/
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new University of California (UC) Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.
 
Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that those rodents whose daily drill included exploration, learning and finding hidden tasty morsels were less likely than their enrichment-deprived counterparts to seek solace in a chamber where they had been given cocaine.
 
“We have compelling behavioral evidence that self-directed exploration and learning altered their reward systems so that when cocaine was experienced it made less of an impact on their brain,” said Linda Wilbrecht, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the paper published in the journal, Neuropharmacology.
 
By contrast, mice who were not intellectually challenged and/or whose activities and diets were restricted, were eager to return to the quarters where they had been injected with cocaine for weeks on end.
 
“We know that mice living in deprived conditions show higher levels of drug-seeking behavior than those living in stimulating environments, and we sought to develop a brief intervention that would promote resilience in the deprived animals,” said study lead author Josiah Boivin, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at UC San Francisco who conducted the research at UC Berkeley as part of his thesis work.
 
Drug abuse and addiction rank among the world’s more costly, destructive and seemingly insurmountable problems. Previous studies have found that poverty, trauma, mental illness and other environmental and physiological stressors can alter the brain’s reward circuitry and make us more susceptible to substance abuse.
 
The good news about this latest study is that it offers scalable interventions against drug-seeking behaviors, albeit through evidence based on animal behavior.
 
“Our data are exciting because they suggest that positive learning experiences, through education or play in a structured environment, could sculpt and develop brain circuits to build resilience in at-risk individuals, and that even brief cognitive interventions may be somewhat protective and last a relatively long time,” Wilbrecht said.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/13/brain-addiction/
Challenging the idea that addiction is hardwired in the brain, a new University of California (UC) Berkeley study of mice suggests that even a short time spent in a stimulating learning environment can rewire the brain’s reward system and buffer it against drug dependence.
 
Scientists tracked cocaine cravings in more than 70 adult male mice and found that those rodents whose daily drill included exploration, learning and finding hidden tasty morsels were less likely than their enrichment-deprived counterparts to seek solace in a chamber where they had been given cocaine.
 
“We have compelling behavioral evidence that self-directed exploration and learning altered their reward systems so that when cocaine was experienced it made less of an impact on their brain,” said Linda Wilbrecht, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and senior author of the paper published in the journal, Neuropharmacology.
 
By contrast, mice who were not intellectually challenged and/or whose activities and diets were restricted, were eager to return to the quarters where they had been injected with cocaine for weeks on end.
 
“We know that mice living in deprived conditions show higher levels of drug-seeking behavior than those living in stimulating environments, and we sought to develop a brief intervention that would promote resilience in the deprived animals,” said study lead author Josiah Boivin, a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at UC San Francisco who conducted the research at UC Berkeley as part of his thesis work.
 
Drug abuse and addiction rank among the world’s more costly, destructive and seemingly insurmountable problems. Previous studies have found that poverty, trauma, mental illness and other environmental and physiological stressors can alter the brain’s reward circuitry and make us more susceptible to substance abuse.
 
The good news about this latest study is that it offers scalable interventions against drug-seeking behaviors, albeit through evidence based on animal behavior.
 
“Our data are exciting because they suggest that positive learning experiences, through education or play in a structured environment, could sculpt and develop brain circuits to build resilience in at-risk individuals, and that even brief cognitive interventions may be somewhat protective and last a relatively long time,” Wilbrecht said.
Source: University of California, Berkeley, http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/13/brain-addiction/

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.