Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 4:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium
A drug-addicted person may set a goal to abstain from taking drugs, yet soon afterwards he or she will ignore all warnings or reprimands, take an excessive amount of a drug, and possibly go much farther, such as trade in a car, or another valuable possession, for a couple of cocaine hits. This disadvantageous decision-making and drug- seeking behavior may continue despite catastrophic personal consequences — for example, loss of job, health, or family — even when the drug is no longer perceived as pleasurable. A series of brain-mapping studies and neuropsychological tests conducted at BNL has shown that people addicted to cocaine have an impaired ability to process rewards and exercise control, in a way that is directly linked to changes in the responsiveness in their prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain essential for advantageously monitoring and controlling one's own behavior. To learn more about these pioneering studies, join medical scientist Rita Z. Goldstein of the Medical Department as she gives the 440th Brookhaven Lecture, on "Reward, Self-Control, and Free Will in Cocaine Addiction: Brain-Imaging Results." Goldstein will describe her research in this field, which was designed to test a theoretical model postulating that drug-addicted individuals disproportionately attribute value to their drug of choice — at the expense of other potentially but no-longer-rewarding stimuli and at the same time, experience decreased ability to inhibit their drug use.
Hosted by: Brant Johnson & Stephen Musolino
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