Neurobiology of Disease



NIH Webcasts of Interest

For remote viewing via teleconference and webcast:

On-demand viewing:

To view the 2005-2006 WALS Schedule:

WALS, WEDNESDAY, April 5, 2006, 3:00-4:00 PM Clinical Center, Jack Masur Auditorium, Bldg.10

OVERFLOW: The Lipsett Auditorium

* * * The NIH Director's Lecture * * *


Nora D. Volkow, M.D.
Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse


Imaging technology has played a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of the neurochemical and functional changes that characterize the addicted brain. Although the involvement of dopamine in drug reinforcement is well recognized, its role in drug addiction is much less clear. Imaging studies have shown that the reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse in humans are contingent upon large and fast increases in dopamine that mimic but exceed in the intensity and duration those induced by dopamine cell firing to environmental events. In the addicted state, by contrast, dopamine function is markedly disrupted and is associated with reduced activity of the orbitofrontal cortex (the neuroanatomical region involved with salience attribution and implicated in compulsive behavior disorders) and the cingulate gyrus (the neuroanatomical region involved with inhibitory control and attention and implicated in impulsivity). In addiction, disturbances in salience attribution result in enhanced value given to drugs and drug-related stimuli at the expense of other reinforcers. Dysfunction in inhibitory control systems, by decreasing the addict's ability to refrain from seeking and consuming drugs, ultimately results in the compulsive drug intake that characterizes the disease. These disruptions that occur in the fine balance that normally exists between brain circuits underlying reward, motivation, memory and cognitive control, as consequences of addiction, must all be considered in designing therapies for its effective treatment.


Nora D. Volkow, M.D. was appointed Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in May 2003. Recognized as one of the world's leading experts on drug addiction and brain imaging, Dr. Volkow's work has been pivotal in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the brain. She has also made important contributions to our knowledge of the neurobiology underlying obesity, the neurobiology underlying behavioral changes that occur with aging and to the treatment of ADHD.

HOST: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)


CME electronic evaluation credit form for online viewing: or call Sandeep Nair at (301) 496-1921.

Sign language interpretation can be provided. For information/accommodations call (301) 496-1921, e-mail:, or call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877 8339 (Voice/TTY/ASCll/Spanish).

Fire regulations prohibit sitting or standing in aisles or perimeter areas of the Masur Auditorium.

Food and drink are not permitted. No one will be admitted when the auditorium reaches capacity.


This activity is for Ph.D., D.D.S., M.D. level scientists and all other interested individuals. At the end of this activity, participants will be able to 1) identify key questions in the speaker's area of investigation and 2) identify approaches used by the speaker to answer these questions.

The National Institutes of Health/Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (NIH/FAES) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The NIH/FAES designates this educational activity for 1 credit per session up to a maximum of 37 category 1 credits toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award.

Each physician should claim only those credits that he/she actually spent in the activity.


Mr. Sandeep K. Nair
Program Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH
Bldg. 1, Rm. 160
ph: 301-496-4920
fax: 301-402-4273


If you wish to be removed or added to the list please contact.

Jonathan D. Pollock, Ph.D.
Genetics and Molecular Neurobiology Research Branch
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel. 301-435-1309
Fax 301-594-6043


For more information on neurological diseases, go to:

Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives

Society for Neuroscience

NIH Neuroscience Blueprint