Brain discovery sheds light on addiction | Science & Technology

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New research sheds light on neural processing of diverse classes of rewards in mice, with potential implications for understanding substance use disorders in humans.

Drugs like morphine and cocaine fundamentally warp the brain’s reward system—creating the urge to use while, simultaneously, throwing natural urges to eat and drink off-kilter.

Now, researchers have identified, for the first time, a common reward pathway that may serve as a hub for rearranging such fundamental priorities.

The findings appear in Science.

“We’ve known for decades that natural rewards, like food, and drugs can activate the same brain region,” says  Jeffrey F. Friedman, a professor at Rockefeller University.

“But what we’ve just learned is that they impact neural activity in strikingly different ways. One of the big takeaways here is that addictive drugs have pathologic effects on these neural pathways, that’s…


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