About this Research Topic
Addiction persists over time, continues to expand and appears resistant to treatment. In spite of significant advances in understanding the neural underpinnings sustaining the disease, concomitant improvements in therapies are lacking. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may fill this gap.
This Research Topic will describe the fundamentals of TMS, detailing and balancing pros and cons, will discuss current stimulation protocols, the choice of the brain area to be modulated and its action at the neurotransmitter level (Dopamine, Glutamate, CRF, etc). Connectivity strengthening and state-dependency of TMS effects will be reviewed and discussed as potentially significant factors in the anti-craving effects of TMS. Optogenetic observations and visual imaging studies will be linked to recent papers describing TMS effect on drug intake and gambling reinforcement, pinpointing significant advances and highlighting conceptual gaps to be filled in future research. Particular care will be exercised in the pattern of stimulus application, not only in terms of events/sec but also in the number of events/day/week as the key point to obtain lasting and persisting neural changes which can supersede drug engrams and/or ‘re-teach cortical neurons’ to fire in physiological patterns characterizing pre-drug states.
As a whole, this Research Topic will offer an updated view of this emerging field thereby indicating new avenues of investigation in the TMS-addiction field to improve and deepen our understanding of a neurobiological approach which taps on the mechanisms of Hebbian learning plasticity and promises to be a quantum leap in achieving drug abstinence.
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