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    Cocaine’s Swift Impact on the Brain

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    A new scientific study has led to further insight into how cocaine affects the brain and fuels addiction.

    A new scientific study has led to further insight into how cocaine affects the brain and fuels addiction.

    Researchers found that within hours of being injected with it, the brains of test mice experienced changes in the region associated with learning and memory.

    When examining their frontal cortexes, the scientists noted that in less than two hours the mice had begun to sprout small protrusions known as dendritic spines.

    The branching structures connect the neurons, and neurons affected by the drug use were found to have the ability to affect the decision-making going on in the cerebral cortex.

    In general, the cerebral cortex guides higher functions and plays a central role in the effects of addiction.

    The day-to-day maintenance tasks it typically informs become shuffled further back and drug-related concerns and behaviors claim the forefront.

    Researchers believe this discovery is important to gaining a deeper understanding into how that happens.

    With the mice, their addictions came to dictate where they chose to live.

    They were given a choice of two environments. Eventually, all of those who had been drugged changed their preferred environment to the one where they received the cocaine.

    The mice who had experienced the biggest changes in brain structure showed the greatest desire for the drug.