Wednesday, February 07, 2007
The Insula: Addiction and Compulsions
Recent research on smoking addiction revealed something surprising!
Subjects in the study who had damage to a prune-size slab of brain tissue called the Insula were able to give up cigarettes instantly.
The Insula is a brain region that among other things in the Lymbic System, mediates hunger and craving.
Research in this brain region could offer new ways to think about treating drug addiction, alcoholism, anxiety and eating disorders that may not respond to psychotherapy.
The focus in the future will be how treatment can address addiction and compulstions with preserving the beneficial functions of the Insula.
Naqvi, N. H. et. al. (2007). Damage to the insula disrupts addiction to cigarette smoking. Science , Vol. 315: 531 - 534