Dopamine and Food

There is abundant evidence that dopamine is associated with fundamentally important actions, such as food intake and mating.1 Figure 6-1 shows a schematic of the human brain and neuronal pathways that contain dopaminergic neurons. The names of the anatomical regions are unfortunately a bit arcane, and derive from historical discoveries and Latin. But decades of scientific work has shown that these dopamine-containing neurons are involved in many functions surrounding feeding and sexual...

Deep Brain Stimulation Today

A useful procedure used today in humans is called deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is not necessarily associated with drugs and pleasure. In this procedure, neurosurgeons implant electrodes into the brains of patients with a battery-powered generator that produces electrical pulses (see Figure 3-2). It has been found that stimulation of the electrodes can relieve symptoms of chronic pain, major depression, Parkinson's disease, and other disorders. Of course, it depends where the electrodes...

Supportive Laboratory Findings

Because of the importance of this topic, there have been many interesting laboratory studies that support the idea of sex differences. For example, female rats show greater behavioral responses than males after cocaine administration. They require lower doses than males to produce the same kind of responses, and the responses last longer than those in males. In cocaine self-administration studies, female rats take cocaine faster and more often than males. There are also sex differences in...

The Bodys Response to Stress

How our bodies react to stress has been studied for decades. Stress begins with a stimulus in our environment that we interpret as threatening. It can involve hearing, seeing, touching, or all of these senses. The brain integrates these sensations, and as a result, the amygdala, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland are activated. The amygdala and hypothalamus are parts of the brain associated with fear, stress, and the integration of bodily functions. The pituitary gland, which is controlled by...

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (also known as crank or ice) has been around for many years and has been used to treat obesity, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and sleepiness. Its trade names include Adipex, Desoxyn, and Methedrine. It is also a major drug of abuse and a dangerous one at that. There has been literally a torrent of meth abuse, partly because it is highly addicting and partly because it can be synthesized easily, even in your kitchen. Not only is the drug toxic, but the...

How Does Someone Get Help

A young drug addict has been surveying his life. He is in his early thirties, has lost his job and family, some of his health, and almost all of his wealth. His family and friends barely talk to him, and he doesn't seem to have anywhere to go. He knows it can still get worse, but he makes a decision to get help. Where does he start There are several ways to find help. Family doctors are likely to know how to help, or at least how to begin. There are also several kinds of professionals that...

Dopamine and Sexual Behavior

Regarding sexual behavior and dopamine, it has long been known that, for example, injections of dopamine-related drugs into the hypothalamus of laboratory animals can influence the interaction between male and female rats and the number of ejaculations produced by the male. Another experiment has associated sexual activity with dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region well known to be connected to drugs. The far left side of Figure 6-2 shows the dopamine levels in the brain of a male...