Researchers identify key brain circuits for reward-seeking and avoidance behavior

microscopy image of a rodent brain cross-section; pathways in the extended amygdala related to reward-seeking and aversion are labeled in fluorescent green

Previously unrecognized pathways in mice have relevance for mental health and addiction research Researchers have identified connections between neurons in brain systems associated with reward, stress, and emotion. Conducted in mice, the new study may help untangle multiple psychiatric conditions, including alcohol use disorder, anxiety disorders, insomnia, and depression in humans. “Understanding these intricate brain … Read more

Hunger Hormone Affects Alcohol Intake

X-ray of human body

A new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) provides further evidence that a hormone produced in the stomach influences alcohol consumption in humans. As reported in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers led by Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., demonstrated that the hormone, called ghrelin, may be a promising target for developing … Read more

Rehabilitating the Addicted Brain With Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as an innovative, safe, and cost-effective treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders. A new review article by Antonello Bonci, M.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with Lorenzo Leggio, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism … Read more

Brain Studies Point to Perils of Adolescent Alcohol Use

Image of a brain

The brain takes longer to develop and mature than any other organ in the body. Beginning in the third week of gestation and extending into the mid-20s, an ongoing interplay of genetic and environmental factors results in the mature human brain, a structure composed of more than 100 billion neurons. Some of the most rapid … Read more