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Primate Brain Scans, Cocaine

These brain scans were made at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Positron Emission Tomography facility, as part of the study of GVG. They are an average of the brain scans from six different baboons.

They show the concentration of available dopamine receptors on a scale that goes from blue (low) to red (high). More dopamine receptors available means less dopamine in the brain.

So, it is clear that cocaine causes dopamine levels to rise sharply in certain areas of the brain, while GVG mostly prevents this effect if given before a dose of cocaine. This blocking of cocaine's usual effect is what makes GVG so promising for fighting addiction.

Baseline scan before cocaine. Dopamine levels are normal.
With cocaine. Dopamine levels are far higher than normal.

Baseline scan before GVG and cocaine. Dopamine levels are normal.
With GVG and cocaine. Dopamine levels are near normal.

Last update on: September 12, 2003