A new study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory shows that a single oral dose of methylphenidate, a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), modifies connectivity in particular disrupted brain circuits in ways that could potentially help improve self-control and reduce craving among cocaine-addicted individuals.
ADHD drug, Methylphenidate (Ritalin), may prevent the depletion of self-control. Exerting self-control for a long period seems to "deplete" our ability to exert self-control effectively on subsequent tasks. Previous research has implicated the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in regulatory processing. Methylphenidate may help to boost performance of the specific circuits in the brain's prefrontal cortex that are normally compromised after sustained exertion of self-control.
Previous studies of anxiety in the brain have focused on the amygdala, but a team of researchers had a hunch that understanding a different brain area, the lateral septum (LS), could provide more clues into how the brain processes anxiety. Their instincts paid off -- the team has found a neural circuit that connects the LS with other brain structures in a manner that directly influences anxiety.
Differences in How Men and Women Think Are Hard-Wired by Robert Lee Hotz, wsj: Recent Studies Raise the Possibility That Male Brains Are Wired for Focus, Female Brains for Multitasking, Image credit: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences/University of Pennsylvania. #Neuroscience #Brain_Wiring #Gender_Variation
How sugar affects the brain - Nicole Avena. When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.
Doctors could soon diagnose ADHD in children with a brain scan. Test would be the first using a brain scan to diagnose this type of condition. Scientists found brains of children with ADHD develop more slowly In particular, the connections within and between key 'brain networks' mature more slowly in children with the condition. May explain why those with ADHD get easily distracted or struggle to focus. Analysis of brain connections could be used to understand and treat other conditions.
Researchers analysed the brain volumes of more than 3,200 people and noticed that those of patients with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) were underdeveloped in five key regions. Areas governing emotion and motivation were found to be smaller than in the general population, regardless of whether the participants were taking brain medication.
With both symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity SPECT Brain imaging typically shows decreased activity in the basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex during a concentration task. Studies indicate that ADD has a large genetic contribution, involving dopamine availability in the brain. A significant amount of dopamine is produced in the basal ganglia. Stimulant medications work by enhancing dopamine availability in this part of the brain.
David Anderson: Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals. Modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but neurobiologist David Anderson believes in a more nuanced view of how the brain functions. He illuminates new research that could lead to targeted psychiatric medications -- that work better and avoid side effects. How's he doing it? For a start, by making a bunch of fruit flies angry.