Kumar to discuss genetics of addiction

BAR HARBOR — Vivek Kumar, a neuroscientist at The Jackson Laboratory who researches behavior and behavioral abnormalities, will discuss how an improved understanding of genetic pathways could lead to new treatments and prevention of substance use disorders at the MDI Science Café presentation “The Genetics of Addiction” on Monday, Sept. 9 from 5-6 p.m. at MDI Biological Laboratory.

“We need to treat addiction as a disease,” said Kumar. “One way to overcome the stigma of addiction is to learn more about its genetic and neurobiological basis. The more we know, the less the individual is blamed.”

The state of Maine ranks among the top 10 states with the highest number of deaths involving opioids, according to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse from 2017, the most recent year available.

The first half of Kumar’s presentation will deal with the neuroscience of addition and will address such questions as: How is addiction defined? What are the underlying neurobiological causes of addiction? Why are some individuals more vulnerable than others? and What can be done to improve the treatment of addiction?

The second half will deal with Kumar’s research at The Jackson Laboratory, which uses functional genomics approaches in mice to study motivational reward pathways. The misregulation of these pathways leads to disorders including addiction, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and depression.

This free event is sponsored by the Swan Agency/Cross Insurance. Contact 288-9880.


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