Could Cocaine Addiction Be Cured With Frickin' Lasers?

Research has shown that it's possible to cure rats of their cocaine addiction, which I suppose is one way to deal with the war on rat drugs.

The research ("Rescuing cocaine-induced prefrontal cortex hypoactivity prevents compulsive cocaine seeking", because scientific paper names are awesome) discovered that turning a laser light on the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in rats removed the compulsion to seek out cocaine in previously addicted rats, or turn rats with no cocaine addiction into powder-crazed squeakers.

The projected end point would be for human addiction therapy but would be unlikely to involve laser lobotomies (or Colombian drug lords zapping city blocks to create new addicts) in any case, with the report noting that human therapy would not be based on using lasers. Instead it would, according to one of the report's co-authors, Antonello Bonci, scientific director of the intramural research program at the US National Institute Of Health's National Institute of Drug Abuse, "most likely rely on electromagnetic stimulation outside the scalp, in particular a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)."

[Nature] Picture: Michael Bradley/Getty

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