17-43 Segment 1: The Biology of Addiction

 

Addiction has become undoubtedly entangled in modern American society. Whether it’s gambling, food, sex, technology, alcohol or drugs, the deadly disease hijacks the human brain with severe ramifications. Recent eruptions in the number of opiate addicts and overdoses has shined an even brighter spotlight on this critical public health issue.

There is an inclination to equate addiction to a moral failing, lack of willpower, or simply bad judgment. Dr. Rita Goldstein, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explains that due to our ‘evolutionary legacy,’ the reward center in the brain is designed to make us feel good when we do things like eat food or have sex. Yet, with prolonged addiction, a chemical imbalance occurs, and as a result, the reward center takes priority over rational thinking or the threat of negative consequence. When addictive behavior is continually reinforced, further imbalance occurs, weakening the part of the brain meant to counterbalance impulsive behavior.   

The good news; Dr. Anna Rose Childress, Research Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine, observes that with abstinence, with or without the use of medications for recovering addicts, the brain can begin rewiring pathways created in the midst of addiction. The road to recovery is not yet paved in the golden promise of a cure, but understanding the biology of addiction is a critical component of treating the disease.

Guest:

  • Dr. Rita Goldstein, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York
  • Dr. Anna Rose Childress, Research Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Links for more information:

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16-47 Segment 2: PBC: Liver Autoimmune Disease

59430166 - woman with pain in the abdomen.

 

A variety of liver diseases may cause test results that mimic alcohol-related cirrhosis. One, known as PBC, is the second largest reason for liver transplants in women. A patient and an expert discuss.

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16-17 Segment 1: Using Animals To Sniff Out Disease

16-17A Dog Smelling Hand

 

Synopsis: Diseases apparently have distinctive odors that humans can’t detect. Researchers are using dogs, mice, rats and other animals to literally sniff out cancer and other diseases in the laboratory. In the 3rd World, rats are used to diagnose TB. Experts discuss the use of animals to diagnose disease and their efforts to build machines that can do the same thing.

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