Summary of Zapping Cocaine Addiction

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With gut-wrenching tales about long-term cocaine addicts, Science magazine journalist Meredith Wadman explains how noninvasive, repetitive magnetic stimulation to the brain may change addiction treatment. Now clinical trials will determine the safety and efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in people who have been unable to kick their cocaine habit. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone who is a cocaine addict, knows someone who is, or wants to understand how rTMS treats cocaine addiction.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) may offer hope to people addicted to cocaine,
  • How rTMS works and
  • What experimental stage rTMS is currently in.
 

About the Author

Science writer Meredith Wadman specializes in neuroscience. She received her medical degree from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, and her master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School.

 

Summary

What hope could transcranial magnetic stimulation offer to cocaine addicts?

By experimenting on rats with cocaine addiction, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) neuroscientists found that stimulating a region of the brain that is involved in the control of impulses made rats forget about their cocaine addiction. They hypothesized that stimulating the corresponding area in human brains might help cocaine addicts kick their habit, one that currently has no United States Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a noninvasive method that alters brain activity with repeated short bursts of magnetic stimulation. Researchers target the prefrontal cortex, the brain region thought to control drug cravings.


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