After a long hiatus, Dan Dright is posting again at N E U R O N E R D and has this to say about dopamine (and a new article in Science about impulsive rats):
That's why they call it Dope-a-mine
Once again the chicken/egg argument is revisited vis-a-vis addiction. Do drugs make us impulsive or does impulsivity make us do drugs?
A new article in Science shows evidence that a paucity of functional D2/3 receptors in the ventral striatum "high-impulsivity" rats is correlated to a higher tendency to self-administer cocaine when given access to drug.
The implications are positive, in that it is always good to see work that supports a non-moral-depravity line of reasoning behind addiction; on the other hand, some reports in the more mainstream news take a harder nature/nurture line with headers like "Study: Addicts born, not made." and that sort of thing. I always worry about backlash from social scientists whenever I see stuff like that.
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