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Addictive cravings still detectable after death

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  • Addictive cravings still detectable after death
    Addictive cravings still detectable after death

    Date: December 21, 2016 Source: Medical University of Vienna Summary: A protein known as FosB in the reward centre of the brain alters in chronically ill people suffering from an addictive disorder (e.g. heroin addiction): it is genetically modified, split off and shortened. This modification under the stimulus of the drug results in the protein being more stable and therefore remaining longer in this part of the brain than in its original form even as much as several weeks after withdrawal of the drug. This means that a craving for this stimulus persists. This addictive craving is stored in a sort of "memory" function and, surprisingly, can still be detected after death.

    According to the MedUni Vienna forensic medicine experts, these results will in turn impact upon the future treatment and management of people with opiate dependencies and heroin addicts, particularly when it comes to drug withdrawal: "If the addictive craving persists in the brain for months, it is very important to provide protracted after-care and corresponding psychological support," says Seltenhammer. "Our results show that forensics and forensic medicine can also be of direct benefit to the living," emphasises Risser...
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