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Continued cocaine use disrupts communication between major brain networks

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Continued cocaine use disrupts communication between major brain networks

diSilvia Turin

Taking cocaine for 10 days disrupted communications between areas of the brain. Potential target found to modulate behavioral changes associated with drug use

Prolonged cocaine use affects the way crucial neural networks communicate with each other in the brain by disrupting connections.

I study

A study from the University of North Carolina discovered this published in February in The Journal of Neuroscience.
In particular, the scientists used mouse models and advanced neuroimaging techniques. Brain scans of mice explored changes in their brain network dynamics after cocaine self-administration over a 10-day period (followed by abstinence).
The final analyzes highlighted significant alterations in the communication between neural networks, in particular between areas whose connections serve to concentrate, control impulses or feel motivated without the drug. Changes were more pronounced with increasing cocaine intake over the 10 days of self-administration.

Communications are interrupted

Essentially, these addiction-driven changes can affect how people respond to everyday situations, making it more difficult for them to recover and resist drugs.

The study also offered new insights into the anterior insular cortex (AI) and retrosplenial cortex (RSC). The first is responsible for emotional and social processing; while the latter controls episodic memory, navigation and imagination of future events.
The researchers noted that there was a difference in coactivity between these two regions before and after cocaine intake. This circuit may be a potential target for modulating behavioral changes associated with cocaine use disorders.

The brain works like an orchestra, where each instrumentalist plays a crucial role in creating a coherent piece of music. Specific parts of the brain must work together to complete a task.
Cocaine disrupts basic communications within the brain.

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March 7, 2024

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