American scientists have learned how to control the dependence on cocaine in rodents by exposure of the cortex of their brain with a laser. Scientists hope to develop new methods of drug treatment, based on the results of these experiments. Research supervisor is a specialist from Baltimore national drug Institute Antonello Bonci, who along with his colleagues from the University of California at San Francisco conducted a series of experiments with rats, which are specially made dependent on cocaine.
Previous studies have shown that drug addicts are the defects of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, which is located in the frontal lobe of the brain. Limbicheskaja system is directly related to these areas. It is believed that this system consists of several brain structures and is responsible for cognitive and behavioral functions - that is, decisions, emotions and motivations.
To verify this connection on rats, scientists were irradiated mentioned zone of the cortex by a blue laser for ten milliseconds. As a consequence, the activity of nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex in rats was increased and their craving for the drug is decreased. The researchers conducted a reverse test, during which they were irradiated same sites green laser. In rodents there was an active effort to get a dose of cocaine.
The authors of the study say that cocaine dependence is associated with this area of the cortex, and, in their opinion, drug addiction can be quite easily cured in a similar fashion. According to the head of research, this method can be tested on humans, only the laser needs to be replaced TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). This procedure is painless, and it is based on the use of magnetic pulses.