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Cocaine use linked to rapid growth of new brain structures in mice


According to new research, mice who received cocaine experienced rapid growth of new brain structures associated with learning and memory, suggesting a way in which drug use could lead to drug-seeking behavior.

Using a microscope, the researchers were able to peer directly into the brain’s nerve cells of living mice.  Within two hours of administering the drug, they observed a significant increase in the density of dendritic spines, which are responsible for signaling, in the frontal cortex. Conversely, mice given saline solution displayed no such increase.

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