Cocaine Damages Brain

Cocaine Damages Brain

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How Cocaine Damages Your Brain
Posted by isyak on December 24, 2010 in Featured News, Health

Consuming cocaine not only makes people addicted. Furthermore, morphine can damage the brain. Researchers have discovered how the cocaine damage the brain and become addictive. This is the first findings that can connect to the activation of specific neurons to change in cocaine addicts. The results can help researchers in developing new ways to treat people who are addicted to drugs. Led by Mary Kay Lobo, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and first author of the study, researchers found that the two main neurons (D1 and D2) in the nucleus region of the brain, an important part of the brain reward centers, give the opposite effect exert on cocaine reward. Activation of D1 neurons causes the increase in cocaine while activation of D2 neurons that reduce cocaine addiction.

“The data suggest a model in which chronic exposure to cocaine results in an imbalance of activity in both nucleus accumbens neurons: increased activity in D1 neurons, combined with decreased activity in D2 neurons,” Dr. Lobo. “This further indicates that BDNF-TrkB signal in D2 neurons mediate this activity which causes a decrease in D2 neurons,” he continued.

This research was conducted using optogenetics, technology for optical control of neuronal activity made freely moving rats. So that was quoted by the Times of India, on Friday (24/12/2010). Cocaine addicts similar to those found when activating each neuron is achieved by interfering with neurotrophic factors derived from brain, is a protein in the brain that is known for his role in the survival of neurons, learning, and provide memory, and drug abuse through TrkB receptors in neurons D1 or D2.

LEFT: When active cocaine users watched a video showing people taking cocaine and other cocaine-associated cues, the areas of the brain shown in orange "lit" up, or became more activated, an indication that they were craving the drug.

RIGHT: When the subjects were told to inhibit their craving while watching the cocaine-cues video (cognitive inhibition), activity in the brain regions shown in blue decreased. The researchers say this deactivation is a way for the brain to "tune out" the cocaine cues and is an indication of their ability to inhibit craving.