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‘Light On’ Activation For Treating Addiction

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the most common conditions in this country is addiction – it can be addiction to cigarettes, gambling or cocaine and narcotics. Researchers are always looking at ways to deal with this.

Doctors at the University of California think they may one day be able to zap brain cells to stop addictive cocaine-seeking behavior – at least that’s what their study of rats suggests.

The scientists modified brain cells in rats to make them susceptible to activation and deactivation by laser light. “Light on” activation as it is called eliminated compulsive cocaine-seeking behavior.

Obviously this can’t be tried in people but the technique might be imitated in our brains using electromagnetic fields generated outside the scalp. Work is underway.

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