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Cultivating Joy Through Mindfulness: An Antidote To Opioid Misuse

A mind-body therapy, Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE), increases the brain’s response to natural, healthy rewards while also decreasing the brain’s response to opioid related cues, a paper[1] from the University of Utah reports. “Previous research shows that prolonged use of opioids makes our brains more sensitive to pain and less receptive to the joy one […]

Heroin Reduces The Brain’s Ability To Form Synapses

Exposure to heroin sharply reduces levels of the protein necessary for developing and maintaining the brain’s synapses, a preclinical study[1] by University at Buffalo researchers has found. The development of addiction relapse is directly related to the impact that reductions in this protein, called drebrin, have on specific cells involved in the brain’s pleasure-seeking/reward pathways. […]

Nociceptin Neurons Become Active Before Loss Of Motivation

What happens when we give up? Inside the brain, a group of cells known as nociceptin neurons get very active before a mouse’s breakpoint. They emit nociceptin, a complex molecule that suppresses dopamine, a chemical largely associated with motivation. The findings offer new insight into the complex world of motivation and reward. The nociceptin neurons […]

Neonatal Nicotine Exposure Alters Brain’s Reward Circuity

Early life exposure to nicotine alters neurons in the brains of newborn mice, increasing their preference for the drug in later adulthood, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report. Exposure to nicotine in the first few weeks of life (through maternal lactation) caused a form of neuroplasticity that resulted in increased […]