Brain researcher recognized for contributions to understanding, treatment of drug dependence

February 11, 2011

Warren K. Bickel, director of the Center for Substance Abuse at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the America Psychological Association Don Hake Translational Research Award. Sponsored by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the award recognizes individuals whose work spans basic and applied research.

According to awards chair Cythia Pietras, the award is being presented to Bickel for his contributions to understanding and treatment, impulsivity, and , and for disseminating that work to a wide audience.

Bickel, who is a professor with the research institute and professor of psychology at Virginia Tech, examines decision-making processes in the brain that support dysfunctional decision-making, including addiction, and seeks novel therapeutic means to repair those processes. One area of his research is directed at the process involved in preferring instant gratification over a future health benefit. His research demonstrating that this preference for immediate rewards can be changed with a novel appears in the February 2011 issue of .

According to Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Executive Director Michael Friedlander, "Dr. Bickel's research is blazing a new path to understanding how the brain's temporal discounting system --the ability to differentially value things based on how far into the future they may occur -- contributes to decisions regarding substance abuse, as well as how the executive processes in the human brain can be enhanced through rehabilitative training to potentially improve outcomes for those who are affected by substance abuse. He also has a commitment and well honed skill for effectively communicating the significance of his work to the scientific and medical communities and the general public. We are very fortunate to have such a talented scientist and communicator as part of the research institute here in Roanoke."

Bickel will present an invited address at the 2011 American Psychological Association convention in Washington, D.C. in August.

Explore further: ADHD stimulant treatment may decrease risk of substance abuse in adolescent girls

Related Stories

A breakthrough in addiction treatment

January 6, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new substance abuse treatment model for women, developed by Northeastern’s Institute on Urban Health Research in collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission, shows superior outcomes when compared ...

Brain Dopamine Receptor Density Correlates with Social Status

February 3, 2010

People have typically viewed the benefits that accrue with social status primarily from the perspective of external rewards. A new paper in the February 1st issue of Biological Psychiatry suggests that there are internal ...

Training the brain to think ahead in addiction

January 27, 2011

The growing numbers of new cases of substance abuse disorders are perplexing. After all, the course of drug addiction so often ends badly. The negative consequences of drug abuse appear regularly on TV, from stories of celebrities ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.