Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NIDA Study Offers New Clues About Connection Between Cocaine Abuse, Thinking, And Decision-making

Date:
November 19, 2004
Source:
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse
Summary:
New research, funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that chronic cocaine abuse is directly related to dysfunction in areas of the brain involved in higher thought and decision-making. The scientists who performed the study suggest that the resulting cognitive deficits may help explain why abusers persist in using the drug or return to it after a period of abstinence.

New research, funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that chronic cocaine abuse is directly related to dysfunction in areas of the brain involved in higher thought and decision-making. The scientists who performed the study suggest that the resulting cognitive deficits may help explain why abusers persist in using the drug or return to it after a period of abstinence. The study, published in the November 17, 2004 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, was conducted by Dr. Robert Hester of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and Dr. Hugh Garavan of Trinity College and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Related Articles


"Addictive substances such as cocaine can damage the dopamine system in the brain, and there is a high concentration of dopamine receptors in brain regions involved in higher-order decision-making processes," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "By employing functional neuroimaging to examine the neural changes that often result from chronic cocaine abuse, these scientists have identified another aspect of cocaine's effect on the brain that may help explain why individuals persist in these behaviors despite the negative consequences."

In the study, the scientists enlisted 15 active cocaine abusers and 15 healthy individuals who have never used the drug. Each participant completed a task in which they viewed memory lists of letters for 6 seconds and "rehearsed" each list for 8 seconds. The participant then pressed a button when they were presented with a letter that was not part of the preceding "memorized" list. During the task, the participants' brains were analyzed via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a noninvasive imaging technique that illustrates nerve cell activity during the performance of a specific task.

Results showed that the cocaine abusers were significantly less proficient than the controls at accurately completing the task. The scientists found that the demands of working memory required increased activation of two brain regions, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the prefrontal cortex. These areas, which have been consistently associated with memory and higher brain function, are richly interconnected and have bidirectional communication with other regions associated with cognition.

"Previous research that examined cognitive function in cocaine abusers identified decreased activity in the ACC," says Dr. Garavan. "But our study is the first to show that the difficulty cocaine users have with inhibiting their actions, particularly when high levels of reasoning and decision-making are required, relate directly to this reduced capacity for controlling activity in the ACC and prefrontal regions of the brain."

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. "NIDA Study Offers New Clues About Connection Between Cocaine Abuse, Thinking, And Decision-making." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118113006.htm>.
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. (2004, November 19). NIDA Study Offers New Clues About Connection Between Cocaine Abuse, Thinking, And Decision-making. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118113006.htm
NIH/National Institute On Drug Abuse. "NIDA Study Offers New Clues About Connection Between Cocaine Abuse, Thinking, And Decision-making." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118113006.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins