Researchers shed light on the dual nature of dopamine, as a neurotransmitter that makes us seek pleasure and also reinforces avoidance of pain.
Researchers have identified a significant role dopamine plays in the development of heroin addiction. The study reports dopamine appears to directly cause drug reinforcement and, when dopamine neurons are silenced, mice are less likely to self administer the drug.
Researchers have identified a new target of alcohol in the brain. A new study reveals alcohol blocks the KCNK13 potassium channel within the membrane of dopamine releasing neurons in the ventral tegmental area.
Researchers report dopamine neurons may play a role in fear extinction. The study suggests targeting dopamine neurons in the ventral tegmental area could be of therapeutic benefit to reduce the impact of learned fear in PTSD and anxiety disorders.
Researchers report the brain's reward network could play an influential role in evaluating the opportunity to gain new information, just as it does to evaluate rewards such as food or financial gain.
A family with a rare genetic mutation are helping researchers answer important questions about how the human brain is wired. The family, who share an altered copy of the DCC gene, have less connectivity between areas where dopamine neurons originate and their target sites.
According to researchers, if the ventral tegmental area is unable to produce the correct amount of dopamine for the hippocampus, it will not work efficiently and the impairment can result in dementia.
According to researchers, the brain learns to reproduce brain activity patterns that lead to reward. The findings could lead to new avenues for treating addiction and OCD, researchers report.