The Shape of your Brain Could Influence Addiction

The Brain and Cocaine AddictionNew research has found that people with a certain brain structure are more resistant to cocaine addiction.

According to new research from the University of Cambridge, people with abnormally large Brains are far less likely to become addicted to cocaine even when they use over a long period of time. This may be because the brain is thought to be connected to self-control.

These new findings come after researchers took brain scans and personality tests from a number of addicts to determine which parts of the brain may be implicated in addiction. They found that a specific part of the frontal lobes which is known to influence critical thinking self-control and decision making was much larger in people who had used cocaine but never become addicted. The researchers believe this increase in size is not caused by drug use but in fact, predates it and serves as a way for some people to exert more control over their drug use.

The study also found that those people who had a reduced frontal lobe were more likely to fall prey to cocaine addiction. Researchers believe that the reduced frontal lobes of addicts might actually be caused by the cocaine which is known to shrink or kill the brains grey matter.

Those people who became addicted also showed certain personality traits like impulsivity and compulsivity. This could provide new indicators for those treating addiction and may one day be combined with brain scans and other tests to provide individuals with a more accurate picture of their chances of addiction.

Dr Ersche, of the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI) at the University of Cambridge, said: "These findings are important because they show that the use of cocaine does not inevitably lead to addiction in people with good self-control and no familial risk.

"Our findings indicate that preventative strategies might be more effective if they were tailored more closely to those individuals at risk according to their personality profile and brain structure."

Ersche also said that researchers found those with higher levels of education, less troubled family lives and people who waited until after puberty to try recreational drug use were all less likely to become addicted.

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