The brain injury capable of “unhooking” us from an addiction

The ace Dependencies and substance use irreparably affects our brain and a person’s behavior and influences the ability to make decisions about drug use. These substances include legal substances such as alcohol or tobacco, but also illegal substances such as heroin, ecstasy or methamphetamines.

According to data from Spanish Observatory for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OEDA), 93% of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, making it the psychoactive substance with the highest prevalence of consumption. The silver medal goes to tobacco, with 70% of Spaniards having smoked at least once.

There is a study conducted by researchers from the Turku Mind and Brain Center (TMBC)in Finland, which, according to what was published in the magazine natural medicineIn rare circumstances, certain brain injuries can cause these disorders to disappear suddenly. By studying this unusual phenomenon, researchers have discovered a brain circuit linked to the remission of addiction.

93% of the Spanish population has consumed alcohol at some point in their life

Like, for example, people who, after having had a cerebral infarction, lose the ability to walk or talk, remember certain periods of their life, play an instrument or speak a language, an addiction can disappear. It is because it is a learning from our brainTherefore, damage to this area can induce the loss of some previously learned behaviors.

Researchers from Brigham Hospital in the United States, who also took part in the study, located the patients’ lesions in the brain and thus succeeded in linking the remission of smoking to specific areas of the brain and not to regions, as previously thought. now.

According to the authors, the involvement of these areas (such as the insula or the cingulate gyrus) alters the pathway involved in remission from nicotine addiction. In contrast, damage to the connection profile, observed in other patients, did not cause them to quit smoking.

How the research was conducted

The research analyzed brain scans from two independent groups of 129 tobacco-dependent patients with brain damage. 34 of them suddenly got rid of their tobacco addiction. In view of these results, the researchers decided to compare the injuries of patients who failed to quit smoking with those who did after their injury.

Using brain mapping, they were able to locate each lesion. As a result, they found that although the damage associated with remission occurred in multiple places in the brain, they could all be assigned to a specific brain network. Additionally, they found that the reduction in alcoholism corresponds to a similar brain circuit, suggesting that this finding could be applied to other addictions.

The authors advocate validation of their findings through clinical trials and examination of other substances to determine if their results can be widely applied. Additionally, they state that more research is needed, especially on any side effects that may be associated.

This information does not in any way replace the diagnosis or the prescription of a doctor. It is important to go to a specialist when symptoms appear in case of illness and never to self-medicate.


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