People who don’t suffer from drug addiction
, and most who do, do not understand the process of this disease. Even if they are curious, it seems like a daunting task to even begin learning about how the addicted brain works. So it is fortunate that the potential cocaine vaccine
is in the news because the information is currently widely available.
Many individuals are content with the knowledge that drug addiction
is a physical and psychological disease that operates on obsessions and cravings, if that much. When the disease hits home, though, that information just doesn’t seem enough. By then their attention is focused on the visible problem rather than the processes that make it happen.
As interest grows among the general public, more will be written and reported about the cocaine vaccine. Each new article reveals a piece of the puzzle that makes up the processes of the addicted brain. This is important for those seeking understanding because the research is bringing many facts to light about the underlying disease of addiction in an easy-to-read manner.
A basic understanding of the normal brain processes may be necessary in reading some articles. But most articles on the subject are taking that fact into account and giving brief explanations. So just starting to read articles about the cocaine vaccine should yield better understanding of the disease of addiction.
An article has been posted on Sciencedaily.com
about computer models of cocaine addicts’ brains. A portion is copied below. It is a good example of an article that may seem complex, but is understandable and can encourage further reading.
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Glutamate is the major chemical released in the synaptic connections in the brain; the right amount present determines the activity of those connections. Using the computational model, MU researchers found that in an addict’s brain excessive glutamate produced in the pleasure center makes the brain’s mechanisms unable to regulate themselves and creates permanent damage, making cocaine addiction a disease that is more than just a behavioral change.
“Our model showed that the glutamate transporters, a protein present around these connections that remove glutamate, are almost 40 percent less functional after chronic cocaine usage,” Mohan said. “This damage is long lasting, and there is no way for the brain to regulate itself. Thus, the brain structure in this context actually changes in cocaine addicts.”
-- Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090922160104.htm
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