Geospatial Technology and the “Exposome”: New Perspectives on Addiction

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Addiction represents one of the greatest public health problems facing the United States. Advances in addiction research have focused on the neurobiology of this disease. We discuss potential new breakthroughs in understanding the other side of gene-environment interactions-the environmental context or “exposome” of addiction.

Such research has recently been made possible by advances in geospatial technologies together with new mobile and sensor computing platforms. These advances have fostered interdisciplinary collaborations focusing on the intersection of environment and behavior in addiction research.

Although issues of privacy protection for study participants remain, these advances could potentially improve our understanding of initiation of drug use and relapse and help develop innovative technology-based interventions to improve treatment and continuing care services.

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