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BNL Addiction Symposium

at the AAAS Annual Meeting

February 16, 2007, San Francisco, CA   |  Symposium Highlights

Archived Webcast  |  Speakers' PowerPoint slides are available below.

Addiction and the Brain: Are We Hard-Wired To Abuse Drugs?

Drug abuse is one of the world’s most challenging public health problems, taking a tremendous societal toll at many levels — from its cost ($484 billion per year in the United States alone for health-care expenditures, lost earnings, and costs associated with crime and accidents) to the human suffering it causes in the form of cancer, heart disease, AIDS, stress, child abuse, and other violence. This enormous burden affects all of society, including substance abusers, their families, the educational system, industry, social welfare and criminal justice systems, and the public at large.

Fortunately, recent scientific advances have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic disease, with dramatic implications for improving prevention and treatment. Some of the greatest advances have come from cross-disciplinary teams of chemists, physicists, and medical doctors using sophisticated brain-imaging technologies to reveal the mechanisms underlying the reinforcing, addictive, and toxic properties of drugs. Leaders in this field will present new findings on the neurological mechanisms and consequences of addiction. They will cover a variety of drugs, including emerging problems, such as methamphetamine and inhalants, as well as the effects of fetal drug exposure, the addiction and obesity connection, and linkages between drug abuse and AIDS. New prospects for prevention and treatment will be emphasized.

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Symposium Speakers

Nora Volkow, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse
Biosketch | Presentation Slides
"Dopamine's Role in Drug Craving"

8:40 - 9 a.m. Pacific Time

Joanna Fowler, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Translational Neuroimaging
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bio & CV  |  Biosketch | Presentation Slides
"Monoamine Oxidase in Smoking: Role in Addiction and Health"

9 - 9:20 a.m. Pacific Time

Stephen Dewey, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bio & CV  |  Biosketch | Presentation Slides
"Imaging the Causes and Consequences of Inhalant Abuse"

9:20 - 9:40 a.m. Pacific Time

Edythe D. London, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Science University of California, Los Angeles
Biosketch | Presentation Slides
"Methamphetamine and the Brain: A Problem of Inhibitory Control"

9:40 - 10 a.m. Pacific Time

Gene-Jack Wang, M.D.
Chair, Medical Department
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bio & CV  |  Biosketch  | Presentation Slides
"The Addiction-Obesity Connection"

10 - 10:20 a.m. Pacific Time

Helene Benveniste, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Anesthesiology,
Stony Brook University and Scientist, Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Bio & CV  |  Biosketch
"Maternal-Fetal Drug Transfer: Implications for Drug Abuse and Therapeutics"

10:20 - 10:40 a.m. Pacific Time

Charles O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Department of Psychiatry VA Medical Center/University of Pennsylvania
Biosketch  | Presentation Slides
"Promising Approaches in the Treatment of Drug Addiction"

10:40 - 11 a.m. Pacific Time


Professor Yasmin Hurd
Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology & Biological Sciences
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
11:05 - 11:10 a.m. Pacific Time
Barry McCaffrey
Retired U.S. Army General
Former Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
11 - 11:05 a.m. Pacific Time

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Last Modified: September 14, 2007