Friday, July 11, 2008

Where Ritalin acts in the brain to focus attention.

An interesting piece of work from Berridge's lab here at the University of Wisconsin shows that the cognition and attention enhancing drug Ritalin (methylphenidate, MPH) fine-tunes the functioning of neurons in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is involved in attention, decision-making and impulse control. While it enhances the efflux of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in PFC, it appears to have minimal effects elsewhere.

Only working memory–enhancing doses of MPH increased the responsivity of individual PFC neurons and altered neuronal ensemble responses within the PFC. The effects were not observed outside the PFC (i.e., within somatosensory cortex). In contrast, high-dose MPH profoundly suppressed evoked discharge of PFC neurons. These observations suggest that preferential enhancement of signal processing within the PFC, including alterations in the discharge properties of individual PFC neurons and PFC neuronal ensembles, underlie the behavioral/cognitive actions of low-dose psychostimulants.

1 comment:

  1. Ritalin, a drug works as a mild central nervous system stimulant. It stimulates central nervous system through its effects on working chemicals of brain and nerves. As one of the most useful pharmaceutical drugs, ritalin contributes to reduce the symptoms and severity of hyperactivity in prepubescent children especially.