Research press release


Nature Neuroscience

Neuroscience: Neuromarker for drug and food cravings identified

薬物や食物への渇望の強度を予測するために使用できる脳神経画像上の特徴について報告した論文が、Nature Neuroscienceに掲載される。


今回、Leonie Koban、Tor Wager、Hedy Koberの3人は、ニコチン、アルコール、コカインの使用者とそれに対応する対照において、薬物や食物への渇望の強度を予測する神経マーカー(生物学的指標)を特定した。3つの機能的磁気共鳴画像研究が実施され、99人の参加者に薬物の画像や非常に味の良い食物(例えば、パンケーキの山)の画像を見せて、1つの実験条件では、画像上の薬物や食物を摂取した場合の直接的なプラスの結果を考えることを指示し、別の実験条件では、繰り返し摂取した場合のマイナスの結果を考えるように指示した。また、今回の研究では、参加者の画像上の薬物や食物への渇望の強度が評価された。次に、こうして得られた脳神経画像データに機械学習を適用してNeurobiological Craving Signature(NCS)が構築された。NCSには、いくつかの脳領域が含まれており、その領域の活動が、渇望レベルの高低を予測するために利用できる可能性が判明した。



A neuroimaging signature that can be used to predict the intensity of drug and food cravings is reported in a paper published in Nature Neuroscience.

Cravings to use drugs or to eat are considered driving factors for substance use or overeating. Cravings induced by drug- or food-related stimuli may be used to help predict drug use and relapse, unhealthy eating and weight gain. However, the neural basis of cravings in humans is not fully understood.

Leonie Koban, Tor Wager, and Hedy Kober identified a neuromarker, or a biological indicator, that predicted the intensity of drug and food cravings among users of nicotine, alcohol and cocaine alongside matched controls. Across 3 functional MRI studies, 99 participants viewing pictures of drugs and highly palatable food items, such as a stack of pancakes, were cued to consider either the immediate positive consequences of consuming the pictured item, or the negative consequences of repeated consumption. They also rated how much they craved the item. The authors then applied machine learning to the neuroimaging data to identify a Neurobiological Craving Signature (NCS), which included several brain regions whose activity could be used to predict either higher or lower levels of craving.

The NCS had high accuracy in predicting the intensity of cravings for both drugs and food. Moreover, from the NCS responses recorded for the participants to drug and food cues, the authors were able to identify users of drugs versus non-users. The authors also found that the NCS responses to food images predicted the intensity of cravings for drugs and vice versa, which may suggest that food and drug cravings share neural pathways.

The authors conclude that the identification of the NCS offers a potential target for developing clinical interventions for the treatment of cravings and in improving existing ones.

doi: 10.1038/s41593-022-01228-w


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