David Carr was a reporter and the “Media Equation” columnist for The New York Times. Previously, he wrote for the Atlantic Monthly and New York magazine and was editor of the Twin Cities Reader in Minneapolis. The author of the acclaimed memoir, The Night of the Gun, he passed away in February 2015.
The book begins with current animal models of addiction, which mimic the state of humans entering treatment: recently-abstinent animals that receive common triggers for relapse (classical conditioning, stress, and neuroadaptive dysregulation). Coverage then shifts to the use of electrophysiologic approaches, which enable researchers to characterize the discharge patterns of single neurons during drug self-administration. After exploring advances in voltammetry and enzyme-linked biosensors for measuring glutamate, the book discusses the theoretical background and results of neuroimaging studies related to neuronal networks that are activated by drug-specific cues. It then describes modern genetic approaches to manipulate target proteins that influence addictive behavior.
The book rounds out its coverage by illustrating how a neuroeconomic approach can inform studies of reward processing in general and addiction in particular. It is a comprehensive introduction to the methodologies of the field for students and beginning researchers and an essential reference source for established investigators.