Neurochemical Changes that Result from Cocaine Dependence in Young Users
Barasch, Megan E.
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This paper is a review of research and a proposed study on the neurochemical effects of cocaine dependence. Some research has shown cocaine to have adverse physiological, psychological, and neurological problems. Previous research found that certain areas of the brain show concentration changes of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), creatine (Cr), and myo-inositol (ml) as a result of cocaine dependence. A decrease in NAA levels has been linked to neuronal damage and dysfunction. An increase in Cr and ml has been linked to neuronal damage and abnormality in cell membranes respectively. This paper proposes using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to investigate the neurochemical changes throughout the entire brain. It is hypothesized that NAA levels will decrease and that Cr and ml levels will increase in cocaine addicted participants. Cocaine dependent (CD) participants must fit criteria only for cocaine dependence as described by the DSM IV. Neurochemical data obtained through MRS of CD participants will be compared with matched control participants. Understanding the neurochemical effects of cocaine will aid in diagnoses and improve the efficacy of treatment of cocaine addiction.