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Moyers on Addiction Picture
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Premiere: Sunday, March 29, 1998; 10-11 p.m. (ET)

Movie link: The Hijacked Brain

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Aided by powerful new diagnostic tools, scientists are making dramatic discoveries about how addiction affects the brain. In the second program of the series, Moyers goes into the laboratory to follow researchers who are engaged in charting an "image of desire in the brain." At Massachusetts General Hospital, Moyers joins Dr. Steven Hyman, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and other neuroscientists as they take images of a cocaine user's brain as drugs take effect.

He talks with Alan Leshner, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who explains how the physiological changes revealed by these scans point to addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease of the brain. Moyers also meets with Anna Rose Childress, Ph.D., a researcher at the Treatment Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania, whose studies of why addicts relapse employ videotapes and other methods to stimulate cravings in addicts and take pictures of their brain on the new PET scan technology. And at San Diego's V.A. Hospital, Moyers observes genetic researcher Dr. Marc Shuckit monitor a variety of factors in a long-term study to determine who is likely to develop alcoholism. Computer animations help viewers understand the complexities of brain function while commentary by recovering addicts offers a look at the humans who stand to benefit from this high-tech crusade.

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