Press Esc to close
Sunday 14 February 2016
News updated at 12:54 AM IST
Weather
Max: 31.9°C
Min : 19.6°C
In Bengaluru
Partially cloudy

Zapping brain with magnets may cure cocaine addiction

Washington, Apr 4, 2013 (PTI)

Stimulating a certain part of the brain with magnets can wipe away cocaine addiction, scientists claim.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have shown that by stimulating a part of the brain with laser light, they can wipe away addictive behaviour in rats - or conversely turn non-addicted rats into compulsive cocaine seekers.

"When we turn on a laser light in the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex, the compulsive cocaine seeking is gone," said Antonello Bonci, scientific director of the intramural research programme at the NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), where the work was done.

The study demonstrates the central role the prefrontal cortex plays in compulsive cocaine addiction. It also suggests a new therapy that could be tested immediately in humans, said Billy Chen of NIDA, the lead author of the study.

Any new human therapy would not be based on using lasers, but would most likely rely on electromagnetic stimulation outside the scalp, in particular a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), researchers said.

To test whether altering the activity in this brain region could impact addiction, Chen and his colleagues employed a technique called optogenetics to shut the brain activity on and off using a laser.

First they took light-sensitive proteins called rhodopsins and used genetic engineering to insert them into neurons in the rat's prefrontal cortex. Activating this region with a laser tuned to the rhodopsins turned the nerve cells on and off.

Turning on these cells wiped out the compulsive behaviour, while switching them off turned the non-addicted ones into addicted, researchers found.

What's exciting, said Bonci, is that there is a way to induce a similar activation of the prelimbic cortex in people through a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which applies an external electromagnetic field to the brain and has been used as a treatment for symptoms of depression.

The study was published in the journal Nature.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan during the flagship ceremony of Land Rover’s delivery...

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan during the flagship ceremony of Land Rover’s delivery...

Actress Priyanka Upendra poses to photographers in ‘Valentines Day’ flower decoration at Jayamahal..

Actress Priyanka Upendra poses to photographers in ‘Valentines Day’ flower decoration at Jayamahal..

Students take part in a Kalash procession during centenary year celebrations of BHU...

Students take part in a Kalash procession during centenary year celebrations of BHU...

Buddhist monks playing their traditional musical instruments to welcome high monks of Kagyu sect...

Buddhist monks playing their traditional musical instruments to welcome high monks of Kagyu sect...

A Performer walks past another at the exhibition centre of the 'Make In India' week in Mumbai...

A Performer walks past another at the exhibition centre of the 'Make In India' week in Mumbai...

Players of India and Pakistan in action during Women's Kabaddi match at the 12th...

Players of India and Pakistan in action during Women's Kabaddi match at the 12th...

Shooters taking part in the final of 50M Women's Individual Rifle event ...

Shooters taking part in the final of 50M Women's Individual Rifle event ...

Pallavi Retiwala and Pooja Chaurushia of India compete in women's Triathlon race...

Pallavi Retiwala and Pooja Chaurushia of India compete in women's Triathlon race...

Gold Medal winner Rani Sarnobat flanked by Silver Medal winner Annuraj Singh (R)...

Gold Medal winner Rani Sarnobat flanked by Silver Medal winner Annuraj Singh (R)...

Gold Medal winner Omkar Singh of India, flanked by Silver Medal winner Kameel Ullah (left)...

Gold Medal winner Omkar Singh of India, flanked by Silver Medal winner Kameel Ullah (left)...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523