UCSF neuroscience doctoral student and lead author of the paper, Josiah Boivin, shared that in the study researchers training one group of mice on how to perform a series of stimulating tasks, for example searching for cereal in wood shavings using scent and texture. Another control group of mice remained in their home cage with no access to cereal or training, and a final group of mice were fed cereal in the training areas without being apart of the challenges.
After staying in the somewhat deprived conditions of their cages for four weeks, Boivin says the mice were then injected with cocaine in a “distinctive chamber” and injected with saline in a different chamber. Upon the sample of mice being provided the opportunity to decide which chamber to return to, the group of mice that were trained were less likely to return to the chamber where they were injected with cocaine than the mice that did not have a history of mental stimulation.
According to Boivin, the researchers measured for drug-seeking behavior by the mice’s preference to choose to return to the cocaine chamber.
A big problem surrounding the issue of drug use is the high susceptibility for relapse. When individuals return to the location where they had their first encounter with the drug or a place where they often used the drug, the likelihood of relapse was high, according to Stephan Lammel. campus assistant professor of neurobiology.
“Our results suggest that relatively brief interventions in young adulthood can have a long-term impact on the brain’s response to future drug exposure,” Boivin stated in an email. Boivin also added that studies which use animal models are resourceful for developing ways to build resilience against addiction in those who have a higher susceptibility for developing a substance abuse disorder.
According to Lammel, the next possible step could work towards finding out where the cognitive feedback is taking place in the brain, which could lead to the possibility of finding medical devices to target those specific areas.
Do you think with further research will lead to the development of new ways to combat against addiction?
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