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I am driven to map the brain to predict those most likely to relapse

If we could predict which people recovering from addiction were most likely to relapse, efforts to prevent it could be more effectively directed. Psychiatry professor Kelvin Lim is out to make that possible.

Relapse: a major obstacle to recovery

80-90%

Relapse within a year

Learning to predict who has the highest risk of relapse will help focus prevention efforts.

How brain scans may predict relapse

1:40
Kelvin Lim

“One of the things we were interested in is how does the brain recover when people stop using drugs?”

Kelvin Lim, Professor

What our brain scans have revealed

Activity in the prefrontal cortex (the “thinking and control center”) and nucleus accumbens (the “reward center”) is more coordinated in people who experience longer periods of abstinence.

illustration of brain signal moving from frontal cortex to nucleus PrefrontalCortex(CognitiveControl) Nucleus Accumbens(RewardCenter)

People who relapsed within a year showed less coordinated activity between the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens than those who remained abstinent.