2009 IoN News Archive
- Grant for research into new epilepsy treatments
- Professor Martin Rossor has been recognised by the The Alzheimer's Association
- Drug discovery collaboration on inclusion body myositis
- PDS awards Training Fellowship to Institute of Neurology researcher to understand how the brain controls Parkinson’s symptoms
- Alan Thompson to lead UCL Partners Neurological Disorders theme
- World MS Day - Wednesday 27th May - Global initiative to highlight Multiple Sclerosis
- Queen Square leads on new UK recommendations for bladder management which can dramatically improve quality of life in Multiple Sclerosis
- John Hardy most-cited Alzheimer's disease researcher in the UK
- Prestigious awards for Institute researchers
- Drug study offers hope for Alzheimer’s treatment
- Brain activity predicts our choices
- Professor George du Boulay CBE, FRCR, FRCP
- Brain awareness week: the impact of UCL research
- Parkinson's-linked mutation makes neurons vulnerable to calcium-induced death
- Second round of NIHR Senior Investigators announced
- 'Mind-Reading' Experiment Highlights How Brain Records Memories
- Anti-malaria drug does not appear to help with human prion diseases.
- UCL Partners is one of UK’s first Academic Health Science Centres
- "Opening doors for patients with MS"
- Are we as decisive as we think?
- "Magnets stop the nightmare of tinnitus, researchers say."
- Prestigious award for Professor Hugh Bostock
- Untangling the Brain
- Young UCL Investigator Award in neuroimaging techniques
- Brain disease "resistance gene" could offer insights into CJD
- Neurology: A Queen Square Textbook
- Headache: annual evidence update
- Roads closed for powerful MRI scanner delivery
- Long-term risks lower for surgical treatment of carotid stenosis
- Memorandum of collaboration signed
- Professor John Hardy joins the ranks of science greats
- Drug study offers hope for Alzheimer's treatment
- Prestigious award for Professor David Miller
- Magnets stop the nightmare of tinnitus, researchers say.
- Brain activity predicts our choices
- Jon Driver Award
- Professor Sander named recipient of the American Epilepsy Society 2009 Clinical Science Award
- Study highlights effect of brain waves on human behaviour
- New podcast describes the significance and impact of highly cited paper
- NIH Grant for research into inherited neuropathies
- How the brain knows a dog is a dog: concept acquisition in the human brain
- Prof Elizabeth Fisher elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
- Locating literacy in the brain
- Dopamine enhances expectation of pleasure in humans
- Queen Square scientists question memory theory
- IoN scientist to front Alzheimer’s Research Trust national appeal
- New doors open to the understanding of the origin of brain tumours
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Dopamine enhances expectation of pleasure in humans
13 November 2009
Enhancing the effects of the brain chemical dopamine influences how people make life choices by affecting expectations of pleasure, according to new research from the IoN Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience.
The study, published in Current Biology, confirms an important role for dopamine in how human expectations are formed and how people make complex decisions. It also contributes to an understanding of how pleasure expectation can go awry, for example in drug addiction.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in several areas of the brain that is found in a wide variety of animals. Its role in reward learning and reward-seeking behaviour is well established by animal studies – however, in humans its role is much less understood.
Lead author Dr Tali Sharot, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL, said: “Humans make much more complex decisions than other animals – such as which job to take, where to go on holiday, whether to start a family – and we wanted to understand the role of dopamine in making these types of decisions. Our results indicate that when we consider alternative options when making real-life decisions, dopamine has a role in signalling the expected pleasure from those possible future events. We then use that signal to make our choices.”
The research team, which included Dr Tamara Shiner and Professor Ray Dolan, examined estimated pleasure of future events before and after the administration of a drug called L-DOPA which is known to enhance dopamine function in the brain and is commonly used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease. The 61 study participants were asked to rate their expectations of happiness if they were to holiday at each of 80 destinations, from Thailand to Greece. They were then given L-DOPA or a placebo and asked to imagine holidaying in those destinations.
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Reference >> Current Biology, 12 November 2009. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.10.025. Dopamine Enhances Expectation of Pleasure in Humans. Tali Sharot, Tamara Shiner, Annemarie C. Brown, Judy Fan and Raymond J. Dolan
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