BECAUSE of recent reports dealing with the effects of frontal lobotomy in narcotic addicts,1 interest has been renewed in the mechanisms underlying the opiate-abstinence syndrome. It has been shown2 that frontal lobotomy reduces greatly the craving for narcotics in addicted patients but does not alter the physiologic changes which ensue on abrupt and complete withdrawal of opiates, except when this is carried out concomitantly with the operation, when the abstinence changes may be attenuated, possibly because of temporary "diaschisis." Such studies indicate that the integrity of certain thalamofrontal pathways is not essential for the mechanisms underlying the "nonpurposive" features of the opiate-abstinence syndrome, but they cast no light on the problem of whether the genesis of this phenomenon is related to meaningful factors alone, or to nonmeaningful changes in the organism which are produced directly by repeated, regular injections of opiate-like drugs, or to both.
The investigations to
WIKLER A. REACTIONS OF DOGS WITHOUT NEOCORTEX DURING CYCLES OF ADDICTION TO MORPHINE AND METHADONE. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1952;67(5):672–684. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1952.02320170090012
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