1. Medicine at the Margins
    1. Medicine at the Margins
    2. Where the Heart Is
    3. Virtual Worlds, Real Gains
    4. Facts and Legal Fictions
    5. Show, Don't Tell
    6. A Passion for Public Health
  2. Brave New (Media) World
    1. Brave New (Media) World
    2. Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst
    3. Inbox Inundation
    4. TMI Index
    5. The Face-Time Continuum
  3. Building Smarter Machines
    1. Building Smarter Machines
    2. Machines That Can Multitask
    3. The Long Way Home
    4. The Math Behind Vision
    5. Model Aircraft
    6. A Hearing Aid That Listens to the Brain
  4. Make It New: Europe and America Between the Wars
    1. Make It New: Europe and America Between the Wars
    2. The Way We Were (and Weren't)
    3. Qui est in, qui est out?
    4. The New New Typography
    5. Reimagining Imagism
    6. Coincidence, Chiasmus, Connection
  5. The Road to Recovery
    1. The Road to Recovery
    2. The Dark Side of Dieting
    3. No Quick Fix
    4. A Ticking Clock
    5. Tying It All Together

The Road to Recovery

Unlocking the secrets of addiction

A mess of junk food consisting of potatoe chips, donuts, chocolate, oreos, french fries and a martini.

Substance abuse researchers today are increasingly concerned about the damage that highly processed sweet and salty foods may cause to our brains.

Finding the key to lasting abstinence for substance abusers is a complex task, and one that has long been hampered by misconceptions and myths. Until recently, language like “no willpower” and “moral lapse” was used to refer to addicts who reverted to illicit drug use and to alcoholics who fell off the wagon. But mounting empirical evidence suggests that addiction—which takes a tragic and expensive toll on society, costing an estimated $468 billion per year in the U.S. alone—is a chronic brain disorder, affected by a complicated mixture of biological and environmental factors.

That has prompted researchers to refocus their efforts. At Boston University, this means better understanding how alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and even junk food can alter the brain and how it functions, in order to help improve the health and behaviors of those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.