Pleasure rather than salience activates human nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex
Free viewing of pleasant images of erotic and romantic couples prompts clear, reliable increases in nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activity
However, equally arousing (salient) unpleasantimages, and neutral pictures, do not
Data suggest that in visual perception, the human NAc and mPFC are specifically reactive to pleasant, rewarding stimuli, and are not engaged during by unpleasant stimuli, despite high stimulus salience.
According to researchers from Australia, the connection between nicotine and alcohol addiction may lie in a pleasure center in the brain, called the nucleus accumbens, which also plays an important role in addiction.
Describes an overlap of the effect of alcohol and nicotine in the brain
Analyzed the expression of thousands of genes in the post-mortem brain tissue of smokers, alcoholics and those who enjoyed both drugs
Discovered that a specific group of genes expressed in the nucleus accumbens were most active in people who abused both alcohol and nicotine
When overactive, these genes alter the structure of cells in the nucleus accumbens and may rewire this brain region
This finding may help us understand why both drugs are often consumed together ; each drug appears to enhance the addictive properties of the other