Drug addiction relapse neurons identified

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 22 18:09:41 EST 2003


Glen M. Sizemore wrote:

> The behavioral effects of such stimuli have been known for 30 years. Funny
> how, when one finds some neurons whose firing corresponds to the presence
of
> the stimuli, it is an Earth-shattering breakthrough. I guess the search
for
> inner causes that began with animism is still going strong. Don't get me
> wrong, the neurobiological fact is interesting and may someday fit into
some
> larger picture ("drug addiction relapse neurons" indeed), but where was
all
> the hoopla when Goldberg was maintaining tens of thousands of lever
presses
> for a single cocaine injection on second-order schedules (a related
> phenomenon)?
>

6-OHDA: The difference is how they tested it and what they could conclude
from
the information.

GS: The difference between what? The experiment in question and the
behavioral experiments to which I alluded? I didn't ask about differences, I
commented upon how, once one finds a few neurons in the Nacc correlated with
some behaviorally important event, one suddenly has "the explanation" for
the observed behavior. Of course, the researchers themselves would never say
such a thing........but still, the hoopla that I'm pointing to is evidence
of something that I find terribly disturbing.......and that is that we are
nowhere near explaining the neurophysiology of reinforcement in general, or
cocaine reinforcement in particular. Right now, I would call the findings "a
fact" (assuming the correct controls were performed) but so what? The firing
of these cells are probably involved in cocaine self-administration?
Whoopeee! The conceptual muddle is displayed by the vacuous nonsense, "This
activity may reflect the processing of memories that persist even after a
long abstinence and may partially explain why environmental cues can provoke
a relapse." What it "reflects" is that the neurons are probably ("possibly"
might be better) somehow involved with the neurobiology of reinforcement in
general or psychostimulants in particular. In case you're wondering, what I
am identifying as "vacuous nonsense" is "processing of memories." As long as
"we" are satisfied with such phrases, we will never start putting together
how spontaneously occurring behavior is blended and sequenced by
reinforcement, and how it comes under stimulus control. Not to mention the
fact that the stimulus might serve an "establishing operation" function.


6-OHDA: Nothing unusual, but it seems to be the first study which
establishes
that you can induce a pavlovian response in the long term, in mice,[...]

GS: Huh? It was rats, anyway. And it is not clear that the stimulus function
is "pavlovian."

6-OHDA: [...]and moreover it is due to that center in particular.

GS: What is "it?" How do the results show anything more than that it is
somehow possibly involved? Meaningless phrases like "processing memories"
mask the fact that we are hundreds of years away from the level that these
guys think they're at.

6-OHDA: A lot of these findings
aren't groundbreaking alone, but they confirm that mice have similar
effects, so that when you're trying to interpret other results, it is more
likely to ring true for people.

GS: Right......less than groundbreaking. And what is worse is the conceptual
quagmire produced by the vacuousness of cognitive psychology and its effects
on behavioral neuroscience. Oh....I mean cognitive neuroscience.

Cordially, but with a bone to pick,

Glen


"El Doper Mean" <Nospam at nospam.au> wrote in message
news:bi59tl$2iq$1 at tomahawk.unsw.edu.au...
> Glen M. Sizemore wrote:
>
> > The behavioral effects of such stimuli have been known for 30 years.
Funny
> > how, when one finds some neurons whose firing corresponds to the
presence of
> > the stimuli, it is an Earth-shattering breakthrough. I guess the search
for
> > inner causes that began with animism is still going strong. Don't get me
> > wrong, the neurobiological fact is interesting and may someday fit into
some
> > larger picture ("drug addiction relapse neurons" indeed), but where was
all
> > the hoopla when Goldberg was maintaining tens of thousands of lever
presses
> > for a single cocaine injection on second-order schedules (a related
> > phenomenon)?
> >
>
> The difference is how they tested it and what they could conclude from
> the information.
>
> Nothing unusual, but it seems to be the first study which establishes
> that you can induce a pavlovian response in the long term, in mice, and
> moreover it is due to that center in particular. A lot of these findings
> aren't groundbreaking alone, but they confirm that mice have similar
> effects, so that when you're trying to interpret other results, it is
> more likely to ring true for people.
>





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