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Brain Scans of Addicts' Siblings Offer a Clue

They share abnormalities that make them more vulnerable
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2012 5:46 PM CST

(Newser) – New hope in the treatment of addiction? A study shows that people hooked on drugs or alcohol have abnormalities in the brain that make them more susceptible. Researchers were able to determine that the abnormalities existed before the addiction set in because they found the same abnormalities in the brains of non-addicted siblings, reports Reuters. Somehow, the siblings managed to stay clean, and further study of how they did that could be key.

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"If we could get a handle on what makes unaffected relatives of addicts so resilient we might be able to prevent a lot of addiction from taking hold," says a psychiatrist unaffiliated with the study. It also sheds more light on the hereditary nature of addiction, says one of the researchers. Those with a family history should take heed. (Read more siblings stories.)

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