From Baltimore, a laser light shone on the brain that could eradicate cocaine addiction. Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a new Italian-American study has succeeded in wiping away addictive behavior in rats, or conversely, turning non addicted rats into compulsive cocaine seekers. Published in the journal Nature, the survey has showed the fundamental role of the prefrontal cortex in compulsive drug addiction. Rats have extremely low activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region essential for impulse control, decision making and behavioral flexibility. The same pattern of low activity in this region in people who are compulsively addicted to cocaine was also observed. Then, researchers have tested if altering the activity in this brain region could impact the compulsive use. By using a laser, they have noticed that the compulsive behavior had been wiped out when the cells had been turning on, while when the same cells had been turned off, the non-addicted rats had become addicted. If human therapy will not be based on using lasers, clinical trials are now being designed to test whether electromagnetic stimulation outside the scalp can work.