Researchers Reveal New Images of Cocaine's Effect on the Brain | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Researchers Reveal New Images of Cocaine's Effect on the Brain

Images of a mouse brain revealed how cocaine affects tiny blood vessels in the brain.

Image: 

Your brain on drugs. Literally. Photo via

By Victoria Kim

09/04/14

| Share

Drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine damage the brain’s blood vessels and can cause aneurysm-like bleeding and strokes. Due to the limitations of current imaging tools, however, scientists were not able to observe the minute details of cocaine’s effects on the brain’s blood vessels.

But a new method developed by researchers from Stony Brook University and the U.S. National Institutes of Health has made it possible to better understand how drug abuse affects the brain.

The research, which was published last Thursday in the Optical Society’s open access journal Biomedical Optics Express, revealed high resolution images using the new and improved method called optical coherence Doppler tomography (ODT). The researchers were able to observe exactly how cocaine affects the tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, in the brain of a mouse.

The images revealed a dramatic drop in blood flow speed after 30 days of chronic cocaine injection or even after just repeated acute cocaine injection. For the first time ever, researchers were able to identify cocaine-induced microischemia, or when blood flow is shut down, which is a precursor to a stroke.

Previous techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) do not provide a high enough resolution to study what goes on inside capillaries. But ODT offers a wide field of view at high resolution which allows researchers to determine how fast the blood is flowing. Measuring blood flow is crucial to understanding how the brain is working.

“We show that quantitative flow imaging can provide a lot of useful physiological and functional information that we haven’t had access to before,” said Yingtian Pan, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University.

This new technique could help improve brain cancer surgery and tissue engineering, as well as treatment options for recovering drug addicts.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu
 
 
 
 
 

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery
 
 
 
 

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center
 
 
 
 

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 

Reflections
 
 
 
 

This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea
 
 
 
 

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu
 
 
 
 

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab
 
 
 
 
 

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv