Fundamental / Experimental Research
Early stages of alcohol and drug problems, and later stages of addiction, are characterized by neurobiological changes: from abnormal motivational processing of drug cues in the brain’s reward circuitry in early stages of substance use problems, to cognitive inflexibility and impulsivity related to other brain circuits (prefrontal and basal ganglia) in later stages of addiction. Both processes influence relapse in substance use problems. Until now, both processes have mainly been studied separately within neurobiological addiction research. With the development of new research techniques, it becomes possible to study interactions and connectivity between different brain structures and brain functions, and thus gain new insights about interactions between motivational functions and cognitive (in)flexibility.
With a magnetic coil it is possible to stimulate the brain from the outside. This is also known as neuromodulation. At Jellinek, we investigate rTMS: repetitive transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (rTMS). This makes it possible to influence brain activity from the outside and thus improve our understanding of the effects of rTMS on brain functions in substance dependence.
In a first project we investigated the effect of neurostimulation on emotion regulation. This showed that emotion regulation improved in people with alcohol problems, after rTMS stimulation, compared to a placebo (fake) stimulation. Recently, a clinical study was completed in which we investigated whether rTMS had an effect in people undergoing clinical treatment for alcohol problems compared to clinical treatment alone (and placebo stimulation). This was a randomized clinical trial.
Status: data collection completed.
This study investigated the acceptance of extended release naltrexone (XRNT) among Dutch addiction care providers (doctors, psychologists, nurses) as a new treatment option for chronic heroin dependent patients. In addition, the feasibility of XRNT as a treatment option was investigated in terms of willingness to initiate this type of treatment by conducting opinion research among chronic heroin dependent patients. Finally, in this study, a small clinical trial with XRNT was conducted in heroin-dependent patients, in which the mechanisms of action of XRNT were investigated with brain scans (pharmaco-fMRI and SPECT).
* Eline R. Zaaijer (Link thesis)
Prof. dr. Anneke Goudriaan (Arkin/Jellinek, AmsterdamUMC-UvA)
Prof. dr. W. van den Brink (AMC-UvA)
Prof. dr. J. Booij (AMC-Radiology)
Status: project completed.