October 2007 Describes research that has led to the development of a new tool, a new radiotracer, for studying the neurobiology of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and stimulant abuse.
New research demonstrated that, in rhesus monkeys, ongoing cocaine exposure weakens two brain functions that people require for successful behavioral change: cognitive flexibility and memory. But the study determined that these changes may not be permanent.
Researchers have shut down laboratory rats’ compulsive cocaine seeking by stimulating an area of the animals’ prefrontal cortex. The finding raises the possibility that stimulating neurons in this brain area may weaken or break cocaine’s grip on the behavior of people who are addicted to the drug.