Nassima Tiouririne, MD, Interviewed by The Washington Post About Using Focused Ultrasound to Treat Cocaine Addiction

June 5, 2024 by

Nassima Tiouririne

Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne, MD

Nassima Ait-Daoud Tiouririne, MD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and director of the UVA Center for Leading Edge Addiction Research, spoke with The Washington Post about the potential of focused ultrasound to treat cocaine addiction.

A growing school of research is repurposing a tried-and-true scientific tool, ultrasound, in a more focused fashion. Researchers are studying whether focused ultrasound can be deployed against an especially implacable foe: addiction to opioids and other substances.

The researchers focus on a part of the brain known as the insular cortex, which is believed to play a key role in heightening the sensation of drugs. At UVA, scientists have treated six patients with ultrasound and reported no harmful side effects, said Dr. Ait-Daoud Tiouririne. “There is no medication for cocaine,” she said. “It’s really hard to treat.”

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