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Firing a Laser Into Your Brain Could Help Beat a Drug Addiction

samzenpus posted 1 year,15 days | from the you-re-arrange-me-till-I'm-sane dept.

Medicine 156

An anonymous reader writes "The prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain is thought to play a key role in drug addiction, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse wanted to see if manipulating cells there had a positive or negative impact on that addiction. They got some rats addicted to cocaine but not before loading them up with light sensitive proteins called rhodopsins that were placed in their prefrontal cortex, attaching to the neurons there. By shining a tuned laser light on to the prefrontal cortex, it was possible to activate and deactivate the cells. By turning them on with the laser, the addictive behavior of the rats was removed. Turning them off, even in non-addicted rats, saw the addictive behavior return or introduced."

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156 comments

A laser to the brain (5, Funny)

Divebus (860563) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365833)

Could also cure breathing.

Re:A laser to the brain (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366201)

Just looked at the paper and...Where is the scatter plot between lever presses and cocaine infusions??? NATURE EDITORS, DEMAND TO SEE THE ACTUAL DATA AND NOT JUST AVERAGES. Put it in the supplements if it is too complicated for the normal audience.

Re:A laser to the brain (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366251)

Why is this modded down?

Re:A laser to the brain (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366383)

Because it's not just a lame attempt at a joke, but a valid scientific query.

Most of the proper scientists abandoned slashdot years ago, though. It's interesting to go back 10 years or so and compare the quality of the posts to what we have today.

Re:A laser to the brain (2)

Ash-Fox (726320) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367143)

Most of the proper scientists abandoned slashdot years ago, though. It's interesting to go back 10 years or so and compare the quality of the posts to what we have today.

I am afraid I cannot accept that information on just face value. Please provide the study you used so we can critique the results properly.

Re:A laser to the brain (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43367183)

A simple CITATION NEEDED would have sufficed. Get off my lawn.

Re:A laser to the brain (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366647)

Redundant is appropriate, by definition the raw data is redundant after it has been properly analyzed, by definition a published paper is a "proper" analysis. It may be wrong but if it's the only analysis then by definition it is the best analysis we have. Einstein's famous 1905 paper was 3 pages long and had zero references, it was quickly recognized as a work of uncommon genius by other physicists.

The first thing they teach you in statistics is to create a scatter plot and just eyeball it for a one of several standard curves that MIGHT fit, the next step is averages (or some other metric) to see if your guess holds up to scrutiny. Thing is, eye-balling is not evidence and publishing only the calculated curve is normal practice. I don't have a Nature account so I can't easily confirm/deny the AC's claim that the raw data is unavailable (ironically because the AC did not publish his raw data). However since this looks like government funded research I think it's more likely the AC just eye-balled the paper and missed it.

Besides all that, a real scientist wouldn't bitch and moan if they couldn't find the raw data, they would just contact the author and ask politely, if that didn't work they would run their own experiments. At the end of the day the scientific way to overturn the results from one experiment is run one or more independent experiments that convincingly refute the original results.

To paraphrase one of the best science teachers to ever walk the earth - "The key to science is that if your beautifully presented, leather bound, iron-clad logic disagrees with experiments, it's wrong". - Feynman [youtube.com]

Re:A laser to the brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366701)

"properly analyzed"? There is no such thing. There is always room for debate, even if there is none at the time of publishing there will be some time down the road. Not providing raw data because it has been "properly analyzed" means, in reality, that you are nervous of having you work scrutinized.

Re:A laser to the brain (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367193)

Great video, thanks for link.

A comment on your post, if you have the stats ability & tools, it's fun & quick to check the raw data.
Certainly cheaper and faster than trying to reproduce the experimental data.
I've found a few problems with the data, and/or in the analysis in my time; most are due to simple ignorance, (not all 'real scientists' *gasp* are stats experts), or falling into the trap of 'finding what you are looking for'.
Granted peer review is supposed to catch this, but I wonder how many go back to the basic data and redo the stats analysis?

Suddenly a huge influx of addiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366563)

Suddenly there is a huge influx of party goes interested in trying new things. But wait, it turns out to be an April Fools joke executed on the wrong day by, well, a fool. Ooops, Sorry for that addiction! It was only a harmless joke! http://rawcell.com [rawcell.com].

Re:A laser to the brain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366597)

I heard that wiggle an ice pick through eye socket cure hyperactive kids too

Re:A laser to the brain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43367075)

Maybe it can cure 'Gay", too.
But I know it can't cure stupid or nigger.

Really? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365835)

The original article clearly was not read. These rats had their genome changed to have more rhodopsins in their prefrontal cortex. This will not happen with humans in advance of any drug addiction issues (it would have to be done with the sperm/egg?). tldr; not going to happen.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365863)

The rhodopsins just let you turn the cells on remotely with a laser.

We can do this in humans, we just have to drill a hole in their face and wire 'em up.

Re:Really? (1)

mysidia (191772) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367077)

We can do this in humans, we just have to drill a hole in their face and wire 'em up.

How does this differ from Electroconvulsive therapy?

Re:Really? (3, Informative)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366097)

Optogenetics (as the technique is more commonly called) can be 'installed' with gene therapy vectors in adult mammals, the technique can be used for both activating and silencing cells.

It have not been tried in humans due the excessive caution around everything that is gene therapy, along with the requirement for some mildly invasive neurosurgery.

Re:Really? (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366175)

And the award for most horrifically insane misinterpretation of an optogenetics paper goes to... Geek.com!

Based on actually skimming the paper, I would guess that the kind of excitation they're doing is probably safe in humans, although likely to cause interesting sensations.

Also, the blood-brain barrier makes it rather hard to perform gene therapy on the human nervous system, doesn't it?

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366207)

Gene therapy is just hard in general. The exact effect of a virus is unpredictable, it'll only alter a small number of cells at best and will likely kill a lot more in the attempt, or turn them cancerous. It isn't even out of clinical trial yet. The blood-brain barrier shouldn't pose any difficulty though: Simply inject directly into CSF and bypass it entirely.

Re:Really? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366289)

Thanks for the update. I work with microbe ecology (metagenomics) most of the time, so it's hard to keep up on the actual neat parts of biology in humans.

Re:Really? (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366521)

Gene therapy is not particularly hard, and there's clinical trials and decades old cases where it have had success. Why is this myth propagated?
Did the major fuckup and misconduct in the Jesse Gelsinger case really have that much publicity?

Though I guess, every religious nut, moral-code internet warrior, environmentalist nutcase and anti-GMO opinionist would of course latch onto this outlier case and present it as a rule rather than exception, because some delusion of purity is more important than saving and improving lives.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

Niedi (1335165) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366885)

Gene therapy is not particularly hard, and there's clinical trials and decades old cases where it have had success. Why is this myth propagated? Did the major fuckup and misconduct in the Jesse Gelsinger case really have that much publicity?

Though I guess, every religious nut, moral-code internet warrior, environmentalist nutcase and anti-GMO opinionist would of course latch onto this outlier case and present it as a rule rather than exception, because some delusion of purity is more important than saving and improving lives.

Disclaimer: I work in neuroscience and have used viral transfection quite a lot.

Myth? It's not trivial to get the infectous titer and purity of the virus right and it's even harder (read: almost impossible) to predict the exact expression levels that the virus will cause in an actual brain. Much less if such a potential overexpression of a non-native protein will mess up regular cell trafficking/function. Even if the protein is thought to be harmless (as is the case with Channelrhodopsin or Halorhodopsin), the sheer fact that the cell now has to produce, store and process large numbers of something it usually doesn't have can cause problems and take resources away from the normal function. Plus any virus that will stably integrate into the genome can cause all kinds of fuck up down the road since you don't know WHERE it will integrate and what other function it might overwrite.

Don't get me wrong, it is interesting, it is potentially very beneficial but I'd still be cautious when applying it in the brain (as opposed to applying it in muscle or skin cells) since adult neurogenesis isn't really happening much...

Re:Really? (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367207)

Adult myogenesis in skeletal muscles isn't really happening much either.
As for integration into the genome, I was under the impression that you can actually chose the place in the genome it would integrate in, but that this is mostly irrelevant as adenoviral vectors are preferred over lentiviral ones.

Re:Really? (1)

Niedi (1335165) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367331)

Adult myogenesis in skeletal muscles isn't really happening much either. As for integration into the genome, I was under the impression that you can actually chose the place in the genome it would integrate in, but that this is mostly irrelevant as adenoviral vectors are preferred over lentiviral ones.

True, but I would say that a few lost muscle cells are less problematic than a few neurons lost in the wrong part of the brain. AFAIK there is no reliable way to control the site of lentiviral integration. Plus, purifying lenti properly is nasty, the stuff can be either quite neurotoxic or not infectious at all if something goes wrong during that step.
Recombinant Adeno Associated Virus is much less problematic, it's dead simple to manufacture and only the potential protein overload problem remains (and in mice we're using them a lot without any apparent problems). However, in an adult brain, the effect of rAAV is only temporary since it doesn't integrate and gets degraded over time.

Re:Really? (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366681)

Yes but it's mandatory to add the tag "may cure drug addiction" - or some other socially useful claim - to any research involving the brain. That way you get media coverage and a better chance of funding.

Firing a Laser Into Your Brain to cure addiction (5, Funny)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365843)

Would work for sure.... probably want to carefully define "cure" however.

Re:Firing a Laser Into Your Brain to cure addictio (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366107)

not to be captain obvious.. But this is a terrible idea, first off it is not an addiction due to the brain, it is because of the effects drugs cause. And that chemical reaction that gets destroyed by zipping "prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain" would also destroy any normal chemical reaction one would have without drugs.

This reminds me of how doctor thought brain lumbotomies were a great idea!!!

And cocaine was a terrible example since it really is not addictive to begin with..

You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366127)

re: cocaine was a terrible example since it really is not addictive to begin with.. [emphasis mine]
.
Dude! You think cocaine is not addictive? You're completely wrong. It is addictive because of its effect on the mesolimbic reward pathway. I link you to wikipedia's article on cocaine [wikipedia.org] because the medical articles I found are behind paywalls and you might not be able to get to them unless you're on a university network that has medical journal access like UCSD does:
Data from The Lancet suggests cocaine is ranked both the 2nd most addictive and the 2nd most harmful of 20 popular recreational drugs.

another quote from the same article:

It is addictive because of its effect on the mesolimbic reward pathway [wikipedia.org].

You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366189)

So you are saying that cocaine is addictive the same way sex is addictive? You are an idiot. Stop spreading war on drug FUD.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (1)

thelukester (2722207) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366479)

So you are saying that cocaine is addictive the same way sex is addictive? You are an idiot. Stop spreading war on drug FUD.

I don't know if I would be classified as an addict, but I used blow on the every weekend and occasionally to get by at work for about 5 years. I moved cities after a nasty breakup and had to go cold turkey on both. I missed the sex more than the coke. The war on drugs is a sham.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366533)

"The medical community is wrong because my anecdote"

Sure thing bro, I cured my amputated leg with homeopathy by the way.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366777)

Considering how sex is one of the few things that can motivate even animals to kill their own kind for "no good reason" (i.e. neither food nor defense of their own life), I'd say that sex is one pretty powerful motivator.

It would be interesting to see whether animals would also kill each other to get another load of some drug after you get them addicted.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367141)

It would be interesting to see whether animals would also kill each other to get another load of some drug after you get them addicted.

With a spare arena, and some guns, or simply knives and axes, experimentation on this matter could even help solve 'the meth problem.'

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (1)

markdavis (642305) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367293)

Sex is a hugely powerful motivator but few higher species will kill each other for mating. Most will carefully regulate their "fighting" to be mostly display and instinctively know when they are outmatched and stop aggression and retreat. It is not in the species' best interest for lots of their own kind to die in such activities.

Re:You are wrong. Cocaine IS addictive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43367179)

Who the F modded this troll? It should be "Informative" because it is CORRECT.

It's addictive kids, quit trying to claim it isn't.

Re:Firing a Laser Into Your Brain to cure addictio (1)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366541)

You're not captain obvious, you're captain misunderstanding-the-whole-fucking-concept.
The laser doesn't destroy any chemical reaction. It simply excites neurons that have a regulatory effect on addiction, the same effect could likely be had with electrode stimulation, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, only that the optogenetic approach have much better targeting resolution and neuron selectivity.

Re:Firing a Laser Into Your Brain to cure addictio (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366121)

Firing a Gun Into Your Brain will also cure addiction.

I'd rather have this bottle in front of me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365865)

Than to have to have a laser lobotomy!

Re:I'd rather have this bottle in front of me... (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366205)

Actually, the target and rhodopsin chosen causes stimulation of normal functions that atrophy in an addiction state. Nothing gets suppressed or removed.

YOU ARE A NIGGER (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365873)

NIGGERS ARE MONKEYS.

Apropos (1)

m_chan (95943) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365891)

"I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain." - Leia Well, now we know Han was trying to kick and lasers were his methadone. .. And, from the footer on /. right now.. "It's easier to take it apart than to put it back together. -- Washlesky"

Yeah, lazors! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365909)

Firing a 9mm bullet into your brain beats all possible addictions. Usually even breathing addiction.

optical icepick (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43365921)

lobotomy?

This is medical research at its best (0)

hyades1 (1149581) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365961)

Addicts will be able to experience a split second of addiction-free bliss before the laser-bearing shark eats their head..

Sure (4, Insightful)

no-body (127863) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365975)

Lobotomy was used once as a remedy for many things...

Folks changed after that. Some think to the better for society.

Depends on perspective.

Do not look directly in to laser ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366579)

... with remaining good lobe.

Addiction (3, Interesting)

geekymachoman (1261484) | 1 year,15 days | (#43365989)

So, this might be an end to nicotine/cigarettes ?

I'm just mentioning it. Since people obviously think that "drug addiction" means "cocaine/heroine addiction".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Substance_dependence#Addictive_potential [wikipedia.org]

How many people are cocaine/heroin addicts and how many are nicotine addicts ?

Re:Addiction (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366215)

We may never know! It all depends on who sets the NIH funding agenda and who has deep pockets. Cocaine addiction seems to be the primary focus of most addiction research, presumably because the effect is so sudden and there's no one to lobby against its prohibition.

Re:Addiction (1)

Yomers (863527) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366589)

Because if you would have a lab rats, what would you rather give them - pure medical cocaine or nicotine? considering that you can save some of this for yourselve?

Re:Addiction (2)

Hartree (191324) | 1 year,15 days | (#43367341)

It's more than just the political reasons. Cocaine is a pretty direct and uncomplicated way to manipulate a dopamine pathway like the reward system.
Heroin and alcohol have more complex modes of action to hit the reward system. When you're still trying to work out the pathway and its dynamics you want to avoid complicating effects.

It's sort of the lab rat of addictions to study.

Re:Addiction (2)

fishybell (516991) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366661)

Unfortunately, I say the answer is quite likely yes, and probably better than it would treat drug addiction.
Unfortunately, as people aren't rats — and probably the best thing I took away from rehab — you don't have a drug problem, you have drug solution to your person problems. People use drugs to turn off their shitty lives. Of course, drugs lead to shitty lives and the cycle continues, but fixing the "I'm not addicted to drug X" problem won't fix the fact that people relapse after years and years not because they are still dependent, but because drugs work very well at turning your life off, if even for just a little while.

The Government will not allow it (0)

Dainsanefh (2009638) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366001)

Because if they does, the plan to enrich the military industrial complex known as the "War on Drugs" will be over.

Good call (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366039)

The War or Drugs will be stopped once and for all when this laser comes out.

Re:Good call (3, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366069)

The War or Drugs will be stopped once and for all when this laser comes out.

The War on Drugs could be stopped by making drugs legal.

Re:Good call (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366227)

The War or Drugs will be stopped once and for all when this laser comes out.

This would only be able to help with certain drugs that are only psychologically additive and not physically addictive.

Cocaine, weed, meth.. sure.

Heroin or other opiates? Not at all.

Sure it might make you stop craving it, but there is a very large percentage of people who continue using opiates not because they want to, but because of the extream agony for months you go through by not taking them.
This laser will do nothing to stop that, so the primary reason to continue using opiates is still there.

Would this work on any other addiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366053)

I seriously need to stop drinking coffee.

Re:Would this work on any other addiction? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366273)

Caffeine dependence goes away after a week or so. Many people are so tolerant of caffeine that the stimulant doesn't give them much more energy than they'd normally have in a day; it's just that you get it more rapidly and can control when it's available.

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366063)

Drug abuse counselors... with friggin LASERS attached to their heads!

this doesn't solve the problem. (3, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366091)

Let's take heroin addiction for example. You know how many heroin addicts that get clean, yet go back to using the heroin? Pretty much all of them. Turning off the "addictive" cell won't change that. It's not about the addiction, it's about the high. It's about how the drug makes you feel.

Re: this doesn't solve the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366149)

In the beginning of an addiction the amount needed to get high is very small. That amount grows the longer you use. Take away the addiction and the whole dynamic changes.

Re:this doesn't solve the problem. (3, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366269)

They're not turning off anything, actually; they're restoring normal function that's destroyed by the addiction. This is the sort of stuff that stays behind after recovery and that makes it easy to relapse. The behavioural studies they performed more-or-less modelled the situation you describe: the researchers found that after four doses of cocaine, rats would normally ignore electric shocks in order to get at the drug. After treatment, the rats became less obsessed with the high and would not risk getting electrocuted again in order to have it. It wasn't as much of a return to normal function as a rat that had only had cocaine once, but it took a while to return to full addict behaviour.

So, yes, it does address the functional problem that normal rehab fails to remedy. The area they chose to stimulate was specifically implicated as being responsible for loss of control in addicts.

Re:this doesn't solve the problem. (2)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366361)

No, they go back because it alleviates serious pain from major mental illness, which the vast majority of addicts have. By "major mental illness" I don't mean just garden-variety depression or anxiety, but disorders that cause wild mood swings to enraged/suicidal/terrified out of the blue, scary hallucinations, and so forth. They also don't develop coping skills for daily life, so the problems we quickly deal with & move beyond accumulate for them until they can reach their method of coping (e.g. the substance). That's why they go back to cocaine or whatever their substance of choice is -- and also why so many of them end up on the streets.

Re:this doesn't solve the problem. (1)

geekymachoman (1261484) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366585)

> Let's take heroin addiction for example. You know how many heroin addicts that get clean, yet go back to using the heroin? Pretty much all of them. Turning off the "addictive" cell won't change that. It's not about the addiction, it's about the high. It's about how the drug makes you feel.

Ok, feel a need to state the obvious.

Feeling the high won't destroy your life. Feeling a constant need for getting high (addiction) will destroy your life.
Many drugs are actually beneficial if used wisely. Same as everything else in this world. Thinking that something is exclusively bad or good, is just plain stupid.
When it comes to drugs, you can find loads of documentaries about psychedelics (for example) used to treat hard addictions, and some other things.

Many drug users (I know few of them) don't want to be heroin addicts. Yes, they want the high.. because they can't function without it .. as in .. feel sick without it.
Nobody likes feeling sick. That's why we have medicine today advertised on TV massively about curing flu/cold symptoms.

I'm assuming that taking heroin let's say.. once every couple of weeks / month .. without feeling that you 'need' to repeat the experience after short time, would be a great achievement in steps toward helping addicted people maintain some sort of normal life.

Re:this doesn't solve the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366629)

This is manifest nonsense. The standard "treatment" for heroin addiction is methadone, which serves the addiction but doesn't get you high. It has nothing to do with the high, it's all about the addiction. How the drug makes you feel is the addiction.

Re:this doesn't solve the problem. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366791)

I tend to think (mostly from talking to a close friend of mine who is a social worker) that it's less about how the drug makes you feel but rather how you feel without it...

Yes.... yeeeesss... (4, Funny)

RyanFenton (230700) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366095)

From the Journal of Mad Science: A Cure for Addiction

Crazy they called me! CRAZY! But it is not _I_ who have surrendered the war on drugs! I know drugs - and the only real cure is PAIN. And the best PAIN? Direct laser to the brain!

Now, I know what you're all thinking! Dr. Madd, you're thinking, the brain doesn't have any pain receptors! You're thinking I just want to cure addiction with death! Ha! Death is no cure - it is FAILURE.

For you see - this is not some fleshy-burny laser, oh no! This is a laser set to trigger two particular threshold states in the neurotransmitter pathways... specifically, the pathways relating to heat, and cold.

And as any CHILD knows, both of those combined equate to the sensation of PAIN. Raw, sweet PAIN - far sweeter than any drug. Such an all-encompassing PAIN.

Such ecstasy an horror is unleashed, that the mind scrambles through everything it can, just to make sense of it. The end result is usually one of two things - a hyper-receptive state, where the ... subject is willing to accept instruction in thanks for the experience, or a simple silence that at least commits no more crimes such as seeking out drugs.

Such a cure! Were I a less modest man, I would call it a REVOLUTION in treatment!

I expect to be able to roll out full production within the next two to five years, and am highly interested in investments.

-Dr Maddeus Maddington Madd III, esq.

trial and error = cure? (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366099)

could be tested immediately in humans

Better still, just pick up some homeless drug addicts from the streets, inject their brains with genetically engineered chemicals and fire electromagnetic radiation at them. This would represent enormous savings in medical care for drug addicts, and the best part is, the more you do it .. the more you save!

Time for the medical industry to get a bill drafted.. call it the "Cocaine User National Treatment of Substances" act. The genetically engineered chemical* would be far cheaper than the combined medical, social, environmental, law enforcement, organisation, legislational and incarceration costs of the war on drugs over the last 50 years and it's a realistic solution to the massive problem of drug addiction in the United States. 9 out of 10 doctors agree with the contents of the pending draft legislative framework for guided treatment of repeat abusers.

*patent pending

Re:trial and error = cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366239)

"Genetically engineered chemicals"? Sorry, not sure you're allowed to talk about science anymore.

Frickin' sharks with laser beams! (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366115)

So now there's a medical use for those frickin' sharks with laser beams! The only confound while doing the longitudinal study will be whether the rats were scared straight from addiction by the laser beam or by being confronted by the shark in the first place. So an extra experiment will have to be done using sharks that do not have laser beam capabilities.
;>)
Now the only problem is in getting the tiny little scuba suits for the rats, or the very large land-shark suits for the sharks (that have the appropriate wavelength-transparent ports [quartz glass? sapphire glass?] to let the IR laser through)...
.
So this is good for investigational experiments, but I don't see how it would be useful for clinical and therapeutic uses in humans unless you insert the optogenetic materials into the brain regions you're interested in ahead of time.

Could help? (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366139)

If the laser was over a couple of kilowatts I guarantee it would solve the problem of drug addiction. Duh!
 

what it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366221)

Fuck these fascists and their "innovative" neo-lobotomy technique. I think they need to be cured of their psycopathy with innovative new sleghamer brain surgery.

1. Scientist: "What could possibly go wr---" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366243)

2. (*handed cocaine and grant money*)

3. Profit!!!

Think of the marketing possibilities (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366259)

This opens an opportunity for corporations to fund this research and eventually monetize it. According to TFA, they can induce addictive behavior in previously unaddicted rats with the combination of rhodopsins and lasers. All they have to do is extend the technique to work with television illumination. Then they can load up processed food with the rhodopsin and get viewers addicted to anything they put in their mouths.

Think about nicotine style consumer addition on things that are normal and legal. Genus! They can move beyond the current list of salt, sugar and fat without have to bother with laws against opiates or stimulants. If you consider how much drug companies are raking in with "legal" oxycontin/oxycodone, other market segments would go crazy for that kind of "customer loyalty".

It wouldn't be a stretch to see soft drink makers use this to bring consumers back to sugar laden beverages. Sales have been dropping, and this could reverse the trend. Corporate manipulation at it's finest. The US is wonderland if you can use "campaign contributions" and PACs to keep those pesky regulators out of your hair.

Is this where the war on drugs will take us? (1)

thelukester (2722207) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366439)

Moving from NYC to Shanghai cured my taste for blow. First month here kinda sucked but not s bad as getting my skull open and having lasers pointed at my neocortex.

Genetic engineering and laser is not how we end this problem. End the "war on Drugs," end the "war on Terror". Use the trillions saved to educate people and provide rehab. Our economy would be stronger, schools better, streets safer, and Mexico could get regain control from the vicious drug cartels.

Fire a bullet instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366469)

Bullets are still much more efficient than lasers...

PEW PEW PEW!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366595)

And this is why you don't turn gamers into surgeons.

ECT (electro convulsive therapy) from mid-century (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366705)

...was supposed to be a cure-all for everything from depression to criminal behavior. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

No such thing as 'addiction'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366745)

What a joke. There is no such thing as 'addiction'.

Read 'Addiction is a Choice' by Jeffrey Schaler (but of course, you would actually have to THINK and be open to alternative points of view, and that might be too much for most Slashdotters...)

Rats don't get 'addicted', this is more fraudulent, pointless 'research' on animals, money for old rope.

Re:No such thing as 'addiction'. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,15 days | (#43366803)

Well, then what made them go back for the drug? They must have gotten some kind of beneficial effect out of it. Animals don't tend to do pointless things without a good reason.

Maybe its just that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366757)

Maybe the rats just got scared of the manipulation and thats why didnt take any drugs afterwards.

Here we go again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43366893)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobotomy#Transorbital_lobotomy ...
I'd rather keep all my addictions...

Forget Transorbital, try an Orbital Multi Lobotomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43367083)

Many lobotomies all at the same time from space orbit
Operation: Problem, Reaction, Solution

Kit in place? Check,
Media spewing out the problem? Check.
People reacting, and begging for solution? er,, Now to just get the people to demand for it to happen.
After they demand it. Provide the solution.

Welcome to Hell on Earth, would you like to get yourself fucked over, or just fuck someone else over today?

addiction bench marking (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,15 days | (#43367313)

Yes I get that firing a laser beam into a living being is Soooo much more fun than the ice pick lobotomies of the 60"s. Didn't China claim that they just banned a similar type of brain surgery? Maybe the researchers in the above were asking the wrong question to start with. What is the incidence of addiction for the people who live in the country with the highest rate of Gross National Happiness? How is their "War on Drugs" going?
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