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Explained: How cocaine use gives you that high

The study found that the burst of energy has more to do with what's going inside the brain of the users, than the substance itself.

By: IANS | London |
Updated: December 25, 2015 8:41:54 pm
The findings also explains how cocaine use eventually leads to desensitisation. (Source: Thinkstock Images) The findings also explains how cocaine use eventually leads to desensitisation. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

The burst of energy that comes with a cocaine high is a rather accurate reflection of what is going on in the brain of users, a study has found.

Through experiments conducted in rats exposed to cocaine, the researchers mapped out the network of circuits that cause wild firing of neurons that produce dopamine — a neuro-transmitter that regulates movement and emotion. The findings also explains how cocaine use eventually leads to desensitisation, said researchers from Bordeaux University in France.

“Unravelling the neuronal circuit is a necessary first step in understanding the resulting behavioural changes induced by cocaine,” said senior author Francois Georges. The researchers used tracer molecules to follow electrical activity in the brain in rats exposed to cocaine. They found that a hub of neurons in the extended amygdala (the brain’s motivation or learning centre) acts as a relay between activation of the ventral subiculum (the brain’s addiction centre) and the hyperactive release of dopamine.

Since this change happens within the amygdala, it may explain some of the long-term effects on the behaviour and motivation that occur after prolonged cocaine use. The findings might be helpful for understanding and even changing the perception of natural rewards like those related to food or exercise, the authors concluded in the journal Cell Reports.

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📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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