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July 23, 1997

The Selfish Brain: Learning From Addiction

Author Affiliations

The Cambridge Hospital Cambridge, Mass Tewksbury Hospital Tewksbury, Mass

JAMA. 1997;278(4):339-340. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040095046

This is a remarkable book in its scope, conviction, and perspective. The author, Dr Robert L. Dupont, has been a prominent figure and voice for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders for the past quarter of a century. He is not dispassionate about his subject matter. This is evident not only in the amount of material that he covers (from economic costs and epidemiology to cleardescriptions ofthe pertinent neurotransmitters and brain anatomy), but in his dogged persistence, convictions, and perspective about the nature of addictions and what people need to do to prevent and overcome them.

DuPont is equally forceful on public policy, expressing strong and provocative ideas about what we should do as a people and a community to prevent and counter the ravages of addictive illness.

Dr. Dupont and I both trained in psychiatry together at the same time (1964-1967) and place (Massachusetts Mental Health Center), and over the course of our respective careers we have both pur

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