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Addiction

Many who have tried to kick the sweet white crystals will tell you that "sugar addiction" is very real, and there are indeed neurological underpinnings that back them up. MIT researchers have now discovered that the pathways of the brain responsible for sugar addiction may differ from those which govern drug addiction and healthy eating, which could be a boon for studies and treatment of compulsive eating and obesity. Read More
If you're a smoker who's trying to quit, you may recall hearing about vaccines designed to cause the body's immune system to treat nicotine like a foreign invader, producing antibodies that trap and remove it before it's able to reach receptors in the brain. It's a fascinating idea, but according to scientists at California's Scripps Research Institute, a recent high-profile attempt had a major flaw. They claim to have overcome that problem, and are now developing a vaccine of their own that they believe should be more effective. Read More
Kicking the cigarette habit is no picnic. It’s a full-on resistance effort against an overwhelming craving. That’s why smokers sometimes need more than will power alone to quit. Now a new device has been developed to add extra ammunition to the fight in the form of the SmartStop, an electronic wearable from U.S.-based Chrono Therapeutics that takes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to a new level and adds behavioral support, thanks to the possibilities of digital, wireless technology. Read More

There are plenty of trackers to promote healthy habits, but how about a device that discourages a not so healthy one? Quitbit is a smart lighter designed to help rein in smoking addiction by keeping tabs on how often you light up. Read More

Sometimes Facebook can be a bit like a timewarp. You open it to take a quick peek and before you know it, the better part of the day is gone by. MIT PhD students Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff decided that they’d like to spend less time with social media and more writing their dissertations, so they came up with Pavlov Poke. As the name implies, it’s a sort of aversion therapy device for weaning off of Facebook that gives you electric shocks if you've lingered too long. Read More
Like so many other illicit drugs, cocaine can be extremely, destructively addictive. Recent research suggests, however, that ridding people of such addictions may be as simple as zapping them on them scalp. In a study conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco, scientists were able to turn cocaine addiction on and off in rats via pulses of laser light to their brains. Read More
Have you ever felt that one computer game is more "addictive" than another? Leaving definitions aside for the moment, it's fair to say that an addictive computer game is likely to be a more successful product than a game that is merely fun to play. Gaming developers apply numerous techniques and tests in an attempt to evaluate which games will hit the right buttons. Now researchers at Academia Sinica and the National Taiwan University (ASNTU) have developed a direct test for the addictiveness of a computer game based on physiological responses of a group of new players. Read More
We’re all carrying around some cringe-inducing memories that we’d rather forget. But for those suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), recalling certain memories can provoke fearful, emotional experiences. By the same token, some memories can remind those battling drug addiction of the rewarding effects of the drug and trigger a relapse. Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block these types of memories that could lead to better treatments for both conditions. Read More
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive and thus commonly-used street drugs – according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there are currently nearly 25 million meth addicts worldwide. Help may be on the way, however. Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute have had success in using a methamphetamine vaccine to block the effects on meth on lab rats. Read More
Unlike the heroin-specific vaccine we covered last year, an international team of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder has now found a way to block addiction to various opioid drugs, including heroin and morphine. Importantly, the new approach doesn’t negatively affect the pain-relieving properties of these drugs. Read More
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