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McLean researchers

Scott E. Lukas: Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory

This laboratory is dedicated to studying the effects of psychoactive drugs on brain function and human behavior. The reinforcing effects of drugs and alcohol make initial quitting and sustained abstinence extremely difficult.

Our scientists study the brain reward systems involved in the addiction process and are developing alternative treatments for drug and alcohol abuse.

A variety of approaches are used to measure brain function including brain electrical activity (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) while individuals perform various tasks. In addition, plasma drug levels are also measured to determine the rate at which drugs are removed from the body.

Many of these strategies are used to then test novel medications (including herbal preparations) or therapies (including electroacupuncture) for drug and alcohol abuse.

The BPRL was founded in 1996 by Dr. Scott Lukas and is composed of the following laboratories: Clinical Trials/Outpatient Research, Human Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, Human Electrophysiology, Natural Settings, and Clinical Chemistry.