Research note: Yale team explores roots of poor decisions
Poor decision-making in rats can be traced to an excess of a single subtype of brain receptor, a finding that could explain cognitive difficulties experienced by alcoholics, drug addicts and people with diseases such as schizophrenia, according to Yale researchers. The Yale team led by Stephanie Groman and Jane Taylor showed that animals with excess dopamine D3 receptors in the midbrain (shown in orange in accompanying PET image) exhibited an inability to adjust to changing conditions in a test of flexible decision-making. If findings extend to humans, it might be possible to use drugs that target these receptors to improve cognitive performance in people afflicted with mental illness and addictions, the authors say. The work was published June 21 in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Bill Hathaway: firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-432-1322