Brain Imaging

Total Running Time: 6:15 min.

The ability to look inside the brain through electronic imaging has yielded many advances in the study of addiction, allowing researchers to focus on triggers like dopamine, the neurotransmitter that defines the brain's pleasure pathways. At the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Nora Volkow shows John, a 43-year-old methamphetamine user, an MRI image of his brain next to a "normal" one. Despite visual evidence of damage, John seems ambivalent about quitting. "Our brain has a tremendous capacity for recovery," insists Volkow, suggesting that John's brain can heal itself - if he can stay off drugs.