MONTREAL, Oct. 31, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Véronique Bohbot, PhD,
neuroscientist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, found
that the region of the brain involved in stimulus-response learning is
directly linked to the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. More
specifically, she discovered that people who resorted to
stimulus-response learning smoked more, had double the consumption of
alcohol and were more likely to use cannabis. Her findings have been
published in the most recent issue of Hippocampus.
We rely on one of two strategies to navigate through our surroundings.
One is called the spatial strategy, where we use visual cues and
landmarks to develop cognitive maps that enable us to know where we are
and how to get where we want to go. This process occurs in the
hippocampus. The other is the stimulus-response strategy, which is a
kind of auto-pilot: after travelling along the same route on a regular
basis, we end up taking it out of habit. This process occurs in the
People who resort to stimulus-response learning have a more developed
striatum and would consume more alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
Factors such as routine, stress and reward-seeking behaviour also
contribute to stimulating the striatum, at the expense of the
hippocampus. "The literature indicates that children engage in
stimulus-response strategies from a very young age," Véronique Bohbot
explains. "Reward-seeking behavior in childhood, especially for
immediate rewards like candy or playing action video games, stimulates
the striatum and encourages stimulus-response strategies during
navigation. This would predispose the child to drug seeking behaviour."
Previous studies have shown that an atrophied hippocampus increases the
risk of developing a mental illness such as schizophrenia, depression,
post-traumatic stress disorder or Alzheimer's disease.
Véronique Bohbot will present her research results on November 13 at the
annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, where she
will talk about the importance of improving spatial navigation skills
to maintain a balance and increase chances of a healthy cognition.
To learn more
Link to Dr. Bohbot's published study http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hipo.22187/abstract
Video and Dr. Bohbot's lab http://www.douglas.qc.ca/news/1225?locale=en
About the Douglas - www.douglas.qc.ca
SOURCE: Douglas Mental Health University Institute
For further information:
Information and interview requests
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Marie france Coutu
Communications et affaires publiques directorate
Tel.: 514 761-6131, poste 2769, Cell. 514 835-3236