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Surprising Science

Is the Brain to Blame for Drug Addiction?

New research suggests that some people are born with a biological predisposition to addiction because of abnormalities in their brain. The results offer insight into potential treatments.

What’s the Latest Development?

Oxford University researchers believe there is a biological predisposition to drug addiction, following their examinations of the brains of drug addicts and their non-addicted brothers and sisters. The research indicates that both siblings showed the same abnormalities in brain biology, while over the course of their lives, one became a drug addict and the other did not. This suggests that the abnormalities in the brains of addicts are not caused by the drugs they ingest but are, instead, markers of a genetic predisposition toward addiction.

What’s the Big Idea?

Not everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted and not everyone with a predisposition toward addiction takes drugs. In other words, nature and nurture both play a role in how someone’s life develops. By looking more closely at the study’s siblings who did not become addicted to drugs, though being predisposed to, researchers hope to arrive at a better understanding of how someone could be counseled to avoid drug use. If those predisposed to addiction can be identified, preventative treatments can be focused on them.

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