Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Michael W. Miller Responds to New Insights into Neuroscience and Addiction

May 29, 2012

NEW YORK, May 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — For many, bad habits are thought to be matters of poor behavior, or of weak self-control–things that the individual ought to be able to control. According to the latest research, however, bad habits and addictions are actually rooted in the activity of the brain. Dr. Nora Volkow, who heads the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has published a new study that clarifies the role of the brain in matters of “bad habits” and addiction–and her research has won the praise of neuroscientists like Dr. Michael W. Miller.

Dr. Volkow explains her research by saying that, for many, avoiding bad habits is a matter of “just saying no,” but the “Just Say No” mentality does a disservice to how gripping an addiction can actually be. If avoiding things that were not good for us was as simple as saying no, Dr. Volkow comments, then there would likely be no drug abuse or obesity.

The fact is, she explains, that addiction is a powerful disease that affects the brain–and it can even affect our memory, our self-control, and our ability to learn. Addiction brings about a real, physical change within the brain, Dr. Volkow emphasizes.

Dr. Michael W. Miller, a respected researcher in the field of neuroscience, has responded to her findings with a press statement of his own, pointing toward the direction this research might head next. “Dr. Volkow describes the compelling findings on the circuitry and neurochemistry of the brain underlying the addictiveness of substances,” says Dr. Miller. “The confounding challenge is to determine why people with an addiction are not addicted to all substances. Understanding why these non-addictive substances are in fact non-addictive may be used as an avenue to devise strategies to address an addicted person’s response to the offending substances.”

Dr. Volkow’s study, like Michael W. Miller’s statement, suggests some highly practical applications of this news research. For example, she writes about how the chemicals that affect addiction or compulsive behavior within the brain can often be triggered by images. For example, the image of a hamburger might trigger the neurological effect that causes someone to crave food. This, the scientist writes, could be an explanation of why obesity is so rampant in our advertising- and image-dominated culture.

The new study concludes that, while addiction can physically alter the brain, those alterations do not have to be permanent. In fact, the damage can be undone through the right lifestyle modifications, support systems, and community involvement, the study concludes. Though addiction can change the brain in profound ways, it does not have to enslave us.


A professor and researcher, neuroscientist Michael W. Miller, Ph.D., is a highly regarded member of his field. Through his work, he has uncovered pivotal information about the effects of alcohol on brain development, in addition to several other subjects within the realm of neuroscience. Over the last three decades, Dr. Michael W. Miller has utilized his career to benefit his students, the general public, and the scientific community.

SOURCE Michael W. Miller

Source: PR Newswire