What heroin or cocaine addiction damages in the brain

White matter deficiency.  Illustrative image.  |  Anna Shvets via Pexels

White matter deficiency. Illustrative image. | Anna Shvets via Pexels

This can cause a decrease in white matter and cause difficulty in transmitting certain information.

According to a new study, addiction to heroin or cocaine is partly due to the consequences of these substances on the brain and in particular because they affect the ability of parts of it to communicate with each other.

The brain of an addict would contain less white matter than that of a person who does not use drugs. However, it is this white substance that connects all parts of the brain together and helps to transmit the information necessary for its proper functioning.

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States, responsible for this new research, had already observed these consequences on rodents made addicts in the laboratory, however this is the first time that a study has been carried out with drug addicts.

The habenula

American academics have studied the links between the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain essential for the regulation of executive functions and decision-making, and the habenula, a region that plays a vital role in our understanding of the risks and rewards of a stock.

For this study, the researchers performed scans to examine the difference between the brains of healthy people and those of cocaine or heroin addicts. Even in people who have recently stopped taking substances, the transmission between the prefrontal cortex and the habenula is altered.

The fact that the brains of cocaine and heroin (stimulant and opioid, respectively) addicts show the same disturbances suggests that this could be the case for addiction in general, says Sarah King, lead author of the study. It could also mean that…

Read more on Slate.fr.

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