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Medicine Shark Science

Firing a Laser Into Your Brain Could Help Beat a Drug Addiction 156

An anonymous reader writes "The prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain is thought to play a key role in drug addiction, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse wanted to see if manipulating cells there had a positive or negative impact on that addiction. They got some rats addicted to cocaine but not before loading them up with light sensitive proteins called rhodopsins that were placed in their prefrontal cortex, attaching to the neurons there. By shining a tuned laser light on to the prefrontal cortex, it was possible to activate and deactivate the cells. By turning them on with the laser, the addictive behavior of the rats was removed. Turning them off, even in non-addicted rats, saw the addictive behavior return or introduced."
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Firing a Laser Into Your Brain Could Help Beat a Drug Addiction

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  • by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:36AM (#43365833)

    Could also cure breathing.

  • by Gumbercules!! ( 1158841 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @12:38AM (#43365843)
    Would work for sure.... probably want to carefully define "cure" however.
  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Friday April 05, 2013 @01:41AM (#43366095)

    From the Journal of Mad Science: A Cure for Addiction

    Crazy they called me! CRAZY! But it is not _I_ who have surrendered the war on drugs! I know drugs - and the only real cure is PAIN. And the best PAIN? Direct laser to the brain!

    Now, I know what you're all thinking! Dr. Madd, you're thinking, the brain doesn't have any pain receptors! You're thinking I just want to cure addiction with death! Ha! Death is no cure - it is FAILURE.

    For you see - this is not some fleshy-burny laser, oh no! This is a laser set to trigger two particular threshold states in the neurotransmitter pathways... specifically, the pathways relating to heat, and cold.

    And as any CHILD knows, both of those combined equate to the sensation of PAIN. Raw, sweet PAIN - far sweeter than any drug. Such an all-encompassing PAIN.

    Such ecstasy an horror is unleashed, that the mind scrambles through everything it can, just to make sense of it. The end result is usually one of two things - a hyper-receptive state, where the ... subject is willing to accept instruction in thanks for the experience, or a simple silence that at least commits no more crimes such as seeking out drugs.

    Such a cure! Were I a less modest man, I would call it a REVOLUTION in treatment!

    I expect to be able to roll out full production within the next two to five years, and am highly interested in investments.

    -Dr Maddeus Maddington Madd III, esq.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05, 2013 @07:46AM (#43367183)

    A simple CITATION NEEDED would have sufficed. Get off my lawn.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.