Brain Researchers Find ‘Cocaine Circuit’ Key in Relapse

Researchers have identified which neurons are responsible for cocaine-seeking behaviours in rodents and where these neurons exert their effects within the brain, opening a new line of addiction research that could lead to novel therapeutic approaches.

Behavioral therapy is presently the only treatment option for patients with cocaine addiction, yet many treated patients remain susceptible to relapse when re-exposed to cues.

Such cues include settings or specific places.

Below leading UK addiction therapist outlines the prevalence of cocaine in corporate London:

Researcher Dr. Peter W. Kalivas said: “If a cocaine addict who is used to doing cocaine in his or her sports car goes through behavioral therapy, it will be difficult to remove the cue of the sports car when he or she finishes therapy.

“That can result in a relapse.”

Kalivas and his colleagues have reported that they have identified a type of neuron that is critical for cocaine-seeking behaviors in rodents.

These neurons, known as dopamine D1 receptor-expressing medium spiny projection neurons (D1-MSNs), are located in a well-known area of the reward system, the nucleus accumbens.

Read more: Environment Key in Quitting Addictions

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