Cocaine Craving Activates Different Brain Regions in Women
Dr. Clinton Kilts and his colleagues at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta used positron emission tomography (PET) to examine blood flow related to drug craving in the brains of 8 abstinent, cocaine-craving women; results were compared with samples from 8 matched cocaine-craving men who underwent the same process. Craving was provoked by mental imagery induced by a 1-minute narration describing past individual cocaine use. The scientists also assessed regional cerebral blood flow when the study participants listened to narrations of drug-neutral experiences.
The researchers found that cue-induced craving was associated with greater activation of the central sulcus and frontal cortex in women, and less activation of the amygdala, insula, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral cingulated cortex.
Both men and women demonstrated activation of the right nucleus accumbens. Perhaps most notable was the neural activity measured in the amygdalas of study subjects; the women experienced a marked decrease in activity, in contrast to the increase observed in men. The amygdala is involved in controlling social and sexual behavior and emotions. The other related areas of the brain are involved in emotion and cognition.
WHAT IT MEANS: The differences noted in this study, coupled with the results of studies like this that more precisely define gender differences in drug abuse, may support the need to develop gender-specific strategies to treat drug abuse.
This NIDA-funded study was published in the February 2004 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
This article comes from this PDF file
National Institute of Drug Abuse Addiction Research News
For more information contact:
Reporters, call Michelle Person at 301-443-6245.
Congressional staffers, call Mary Mayhew at 301-443-6071.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world?s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics are available in English and Spanish. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.
There are no references listed for this article.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
n.p. "Cocaine Craving Activates Different Brain Regions in Women." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 20 Jul. 2004. Web.
25 Jun. 2017. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/10987.php>
n.p. (2004, July 20). "Cocaine Craving Activates Different Brain Regions in Women." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
Contact our news editors
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please see our contact page.
Copyright Medical News Today: Excluding email/sharing services explicitly offered on this website, material published on Medical News Today may not be reproduced, or distributed without the prior written permission of Medilexicon International Ltd. Please contact us for further details.