Drugs and the Brain

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Drugs and the Brain

Fetal alcohol syndrome—where the developing fetus is exposed to high levels of ethanol in the womb—has far-reaching negative effects on neural development. Now environmental and biological factors of parental alcohol abuse might also retard brain growth, according to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry. Many studies have shown that alcohol-dependent men and women have…

A recent study published in J.Neuroscience by Stanwood et al. may help explain the long-term neurological effects associated with cocaine use while pregnant, the so-called “crack baby syndrome” which was of great concern in the 1980s. Prenatal exposure to cocaine is known to cause a range of cognitive impairments ranging from attention deficits to severe…

Watching the movie “The Good Shepherd” got me thinking about something: are truth serums real? And if so, has any been proven to work? There was a scene in TGS where a prisoner who was believed to be lying was administered LSD. Now obviously THAT wasn’t a real truth serum (unless you want to hear…

Most people who have known a drug addict, or have watched Trainspotting or ER, know that one of the more insidious parts of addiction is the need for more and more drug to achieve a “high.” This leads the addict into a spiral of drug-seeking behavior, and brain changes, which lead to the person just…

For many years, psychiatry has relied on the pharmacological usage of lithium (Li+), alone or in combination with other anti-depressants, as a treatment for bipolar disorder, depression, mania, etc. This, despite the fact that very little is known WHY Lithium works, let alone HOW. The actual prescribed “dose” of lithium is not a pure metal,…

Phenomenal timing, seeing as the FDA recently decreed that smoked marijuana held no medical benefits, and was hazardous. This is just one more neon sign making me wonder why cigarettes, proven to cause cancer, are legal while marijuana, which has no cancer link, is stubbornly prosecuted. CNN reports on a study conducted by UCLA which…

The Midwest has been hit hard by the heroin/fentanyl overdoses. For more on the background see this; in a nutshell, drug dealers have been lacing heroin and cocaine with the dangerously powerful painkiller fentanyl. CNN reports tonight that 47 people, part of the Mickey Cobra’s gang, were busted in Chicago in connection with fentanyl trafficking.…

Cocaine abuse is a major public health issue, with estimations of as high as 1% of the US population over 12 as abusers. Addiction to cocaine, and most substances for that matter, results in physical modifications in your brain which are persistant, and detrimental to many mental fuctions like learning. During and following cocaine addiction,…