A recent study in the journal Nature Medicine, co-authored by Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Jordan Grafman, PhD, director, Brain Injury Research, and chief, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, identified links between addiction to smoking and alcohol and locations of lesions in the brains of patients recovering from strokes or traumatic brain injuries.
In the study, Dr. Grafman and his co-authors found associations in the lesions of patients whose addictions went into remission, and those whose addictions did not go into remission.
“We conclude,” the study said, “that brain lesions disrupting addiction map to a specific human brain circuit and that hubs in this circuit provide testable targets for therapeutic neuromodulation.”
As Dr. Grafman explained in a news update on Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s website, this study’s discoveries could lead to a treatment for addiction.
“We have potential target sites for trying to reduce addictive behaviors,” he said. “One potential approach is to combine behavioral and cognitive strategies that reduce addictive behaviors with non-invasive brain stimulation — techniques such as transcranial magnetic or electrical stimulation.”