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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The amount of gray matter you have plays a role in addiction


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According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, there appears to be a link between the amount measurable gray matter one has in their brain and their addiction. This link directly affects the “structure and function” of the brains amid those who do not have addiction problems and those addicted to cocaine. These findings are in addition to other studies that have been ongoing in the link between the brain and addiction. Addiction affects people from every corner of the earth. If someone you know is in need of help with addiction and you live in South Carolina, please see the link at the bottom of this article.

In short, the study states that the more gray matter you have in the decision making, thought processing part of your brain, the better your ability is at evaluating rewards and consequences. Not unlike people struggling with addiction to foods, the brain is grappling with the reward aspects it obtains from certain foods, drugs. The need for the reward, is often stronger than the ability to process the consequence in those with addictions, of all kinds.
The study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory is the first of its kind to show the link between structure and function in the gray matter portion of the brain of people with and without addiction issues. Other similar tests have been done but were more focused on the prefrontal cortex of the brain and its structure. The brain is not all gray matter, there are portions throughout the brain that are “white matter” axons that form the connections between the cells of the nerve cell bodies. Magnetic Resonance Imaging has allowed doctors to scan the brains of both addicted and non addicted individuals and allow for precise measurements for each persons individual brain regions where gray matter volume can be measured.

This new test delves deeper into the underlying structures of the brain. Now science can say brain size, especially the gray matter portion, can and does directly impact addiction. For more information on this study see: Gray Matter in Brain's Control Center Linked to Ability to Process Reward; Structure-Function Impairments Observed in People Addicted to Cocaine


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