Cocaine Takes Over Your Brain After First Snort?

If you ever wondered why Lindsay Lohan repeatedly returned to her nightlife haunts despite warnings from judges and others to tone it down, this might explain it. Allegedly.

New research from UC Berkeley and UCSF for the first time documents immediate physiological effects from a first dose of cocaine use, at least on mice. Not only that, but researchers found that the little rodents in question seem to want to go back to the place from where they got their Bolivian marching powder. Strong stuff, that.

The study was published this week in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The academics measured the rodents' brains via "2-photon laser scanning microscopy" and found immediate growth of "dendritic spines" of the frontal lobes.

The researchers claim that's the first time this has been documented for initial doses of cocaine and that it shows how the drug affects immediate physiological changes that can predict addiction.

Cocaine Takes Over Your Brain After First Snort?
UC Berkeley

Not only that, but the mice got to play a game: After being given doses in one room, they were locked in another. Of course, researchers say, the rodents wanted back in the fun room!

Linda Wilbrecht, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study, says:

When given a choice, most of the mice preferred to explore the side where they had the cocaine, which indicated that they were looking for more cocaine. Their change in preference for the cocaine side correlated with gains in new persistent spines that appeared on the day they experienced cocaine.

This explains so much about Hollywood nightlife.

Read more here.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >