Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Long Term Heroin Use Changes Brain
A new study has found that long term heroin use leads to changes in brain function, HealthDay reports.
Research was conducted on the brains of deceased heroin users. The area of the brain called the striatum, known to have a part in drug abuse, was focused on by researchers. It was determined that significant changes in how DNA was being used in the brain were related to heroin use. The longer one abused the drug, the greater the changes.
“Our study addresses a critical gap in our knowledge about heroin addiction because we cannot often directly study the brains of addicted humans,” according to senior author Yasmin Hurd of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. “Our results provide important insights into how human brains change in response to long-term heroin use, and give us the knowledge to help treat this dangerous disease.”
The findings were presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting.