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Published on : Jan 09, 2019

Recently, professors Jianfeng Feng and Edmund Rolls from the University of Warwick’s Department of Computer Science conducted a study. For the purpose of the study, they collaborated with China’s Fudan University’s Dr. Wei Cheng.

Together, they scrutinized the neural mechanisms underpinning the behavior patterns for two types of substance use. Those are drinking and smoking.

The research helped in finding smokers who had low functional connectivity. It was much lower in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex; this part of the brain is associated with impulsive behavior. This implies that people who smoke may do it to increase their overall brain activity.  The people who have drinking habit are related to high connectivity of the reward associated with medial orbitofrontal cortex.

Key Findings of the Research

According to the research, people who smoke may do so to boost their brain activity with the gustier effect of nicotine. Moreover, being impulsive is a factor leading to smoking.  The high connectivity of reward-related brain region could be a reason in pushing some individuals to alcohol. The functional connectivity of the brain changes depending on the amount of nicotine and alcohol consumed. 

Another crucial finding of the study is it can detect who would smoke at age 19 by understanding connectivity at the age of 14. This helps in understanding cause behind addiction.

With the help of this discovery, we understood that there are different neural bases for different types of addiction. Where orbitofrontal cortex is a region in emotion related to these two types of addictions, said Edmund.