Organised by: Aidan Gilligan, Founder, CEO SciCom - Making Sense of Science; Member of the Governing Board of Euroscience. Co-Organised by: Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E., Deputy-Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health Former Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research.

A Revolution of the Mind -  European Science Open Forum (ESOF), Copenhagen
12h00 – 13h15, Tuesday 24 June 2014 (Malting Hall)


Session Description

Wouldn't it be wonderful to attribute our compulsion for addictive damaging activities, such as overeating, taking illicit drugs or smoking, wholly to our genetic make up? Then we could blame our parents for everything! We know it is bad for us but we still do it. Why? This session explores the latest scientific evidence behind compulsive behaviour. Personalised medicine provides plenty of research linking genetics and disease. But establishing a relationship between genetic variation and behaviour is trickier. How does over-consumption of high-fat food trigger addiction-like neuro adaptive responses in our brain-reward circuitry? 

Why are less than 25% of heroin users proven to be dependent, while other addictive substances need only one try for a permanent susceptibility to addiction to occur? How does nicotine work as the principal reinforcing component in tobacco smoke responsible for addiction? World authorities will highlight new research showing that genetics plays but one part. They will demonstrate that compulsive behaviour usually comes about after extended access. As biologically deterministic as that may sound, we all have our aptitudes, traits and susceptibilities - and free will can prevail. They will prove the same is true with addiction. This session sheds new light on how the three strands of biological, psychological and social elements work together. A common thread will be the importance of continued global research into many unknown underlying mechanisms.

Session Format: Traditional lecture but highly interactive

Session Duration: 1h15 minutes

Target Audience: Scientists, General Public, Policy-Makers

Category:  Healthy Society

SESSION PRESENTATION DOWNLOADS:  CLICK HERE

Irish Flag Organiser: Aidan Gilligan,
Founder, CEO SciCom - Making Sense of Science, Euroscience Governing Board Member, ESOF Copenhagen 2014, International Media & Marketing Committee Vice-Chair. 121 Rue Franklin, 1000, Brussels, Belgium. Phone Number: +32(0)474042602; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
US Flag Co-organiser: Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E.,
Deputy-Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health Former Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. Phone Number: 301-443-6504; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
French Flag Moderator: Michel Kazatchkine,
UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy; & Former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis & Malaria. Phone Number: 0041792394054; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
French Flag Discussant: Mrs. Dominique Leglu,
Editor-in-Chief, Sciences et Avenir, 33 rue Vivienne, 75083 Paris, France. Phone Number: +33 155355601; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belgium Flag Discussant: Dr. Theo Meert,
Senior Director of External Innovation, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Global Services

 


Presentation Title: Understanding Gene-Environmental Interactions in the Etiology of Addictions

US Flag Speaker 1: Wilson M. Compton, M.D., M.P.E.,
Deputy-Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health Former Director, Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research. Phone Number: 301-443-6504; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

Dr. Compton brings a wealth of first-hand insights into the most happening research. For example, family, twin and adoption studies have documented that addictions of all types have a strong genetic basis and recent research is uncovering the specific genetic factors associated with the onset of these conditions. Yet, epidemics of smoking, obesity and similar behaviours can change rapidly suggesting extreme environmental modification of genetic risks. Current models include assessment of broad social environmental factors and their modification of genetic predisposition. Furthermore, understanding of epigenetics may provide insights into mechanisms of the impact of genetic variation on response to environment. Studies such as the Gene-Environment-Development-Initiative (GEDI) at NIDA show great promise in unravelling these complex diseases and pointing the way toward effective prevention and treatment.


Presentation Title: Understanding Vulnerability to Nicotine

South African Flag Speaker 2: M.D. Delon Human,
President & CEO, Health Diplomats, Secretary-General of the Africa Medical Association, Former Secretary of the World Medical Association, 8 Place de la Tour, CH-1270 Trelex, Switzerland. Phone Number: +41 22 369 90 12; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Talk Description:

Placed in the context of global efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking ‘classic’ cigarettes and an ever-increasing range of nicotine-based products coming on the market, I will spotlight the principal reinforcing component responsible for addiction - nicotine. A much maligned substance, nicotine gets the blame for the harm caused by smoking. Yet scientifically speaking, nicotine is a relatively innocuous substance. Medical products containing purified nicotine, for example, are not associated with adverse health effects. Neither are people becoming addicted to nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gums or nasal sprays. I will explore what recent clinical and preclinical findings are telling us about the brain's regulation of the aversive properties of nicotine. I will equally examine how variations in our genetic material can increase our vulnerability to develop nicotine dependence.


PRESENTATION DOWNLOADS