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AAAS Addiction Symposium

Brookhaven Lab sponsored event highlights neuroimaging research

Drug abuse remains one of the world’s most challenging public health problems, causing enormous human suffering and taking a tremendous societal toll with a cost of $484 billion per year in the U.S. alone. So it is only fitting that advances in understanding and mitigating the effects of drug addiction should take center stage at the premiere multidisciplinary gathering of scientists and science journalists from around the globe, the February 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco.

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Brookhaven National Laboratory with financial support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the AAAS symposium, “Addiction and the Brain: Are We Hard-Wired to Abuse Drugs?” was held February 16, 2007, with a related press briefing sponsored by AAAS the day before. Brookhaven Lab convened a panel of world-renowned neuroscientists to present recent advances in brain imaging that have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing-remitting disease of the brain. Brain-imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are a direct outgrowth of DOE’s long-standing support of basic physics and chemistry research.

“These advances have changed the way we think of drug addiction,” according to Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the lead presenter at the symposium. “They have enabled us to better understand the brain’s reward circuitry, how it is rewired and becomes less sensitive in chronic drug use, and how it relates to learning and memory, drive, and control over impulses.” Volkow also served as the symposium moderator in the absence of Fritz Henn, M.D., Ph.D., Brookhaven’s Associate Director for Life Sciences, whose flight was cancelled due to bad weather.

Clink on the links below to read summaries of the talks and discussion:


Last Modified: October 2, 2012