A single dose of cocaine can change the way that nerve connections transmit signals in a part of the brain thought to be crucially involved in drug addiction, Antonello Bonci of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues now report (Nature, Vol. 411, No. 6837, 31 May 2001).
Apparently, from the very first contact with an addictive drug, the long-term potentiation — where interlinked neurons acting simultaneously become more strongly connected — that forms the basis for some kinds of memory can be hijacked as a first step towards addiction or relapse.
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