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C. Understanding Environmental Cues in Drug Addiction

Narrator: This is Science Today. By blocking access to nerves in part of the brain involved with learning, researchers discovered they can prevent an early stage of alcohol addiction. Rosana Camarini, of the University of California, San Francisco, is interested in seeing if this blocking agent is critical to an important form of learning called Pavlovian conditioning, which associates environmental cues with responsive behavior.

Camarini: There are several models of drug dependence that emphasize the role of Pavlovian conditioning in the development of drug addiction. Basically, you associate the drug with some environment cues. Then, when you paired the environment cues with the drug use, this environment stimuli can become a conditioned stimuli that illicit compensatory response - as craving, for example.

Narrator: The goal is to find a drug that can interrupt all aspects of addiction.

Camarini: Not only the first stage, but withdrawals and the relapse.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin. .