The Science of Addiction: Genetics and the Brain
The Brain's Reward Pathways
Neurons are cells that pass chemical and electrical signals along brain pathways.
Build your own neuron with Dr. Dendristein!
See how neurons talk to each other in this animated tutorial.
Learn about this important brain pathway, which drives motivation, reward, and behavior.
Glia and other supporting cells are important for proper brain function.
Addiction and Genes
Genetic susceptibility to addiction is the result of the interaction of many genes.
Build a pedigree for a family afflicted with nicotine addiction.
Learn how researchers hunt down genes.
The reward pathway funcions in much the same way in mice as it does in people.
Challenges and Issues
Addiction impacts society with many ethical, legal, and social issues.
Understanding the neurobiology of addiction is leading to new treatments, but addiction remains a medical challenge.
Where do you stand on the medical marijuana debate?
Learn about the connections between drug addiction and mental illness.
Is Ritalin a gateway drug?
Drugs And The Reward Pathway
Take a look at several drugs and their effects on the body.
Look inside the brains of mice on drugs.
See how methamphetamine affects a dopamine synapse.
The brain shows distinct changes after drug use that can persist long after that use is stopped.
Learn how drugs affect other pathways in the brain.
The faster a drug gets to the brain, the more likely it is to be addicting.
Many drugs can result in death by overdose.
PET scans allow doctors to see how drugs change the brain.
Timing and Circumstances
An individual’s social environment influences addiction risk.
If you use drugs when you’re an adolescent, you are more likely to develop lifetime addiciton.
A positive social environment protects against addiction.