A new research has provided a deeper insight into how cocaine hijacks the memory.
Washington State University researchers have found a mechanism in the brain that facilitates the pathologically powerful role of memory in drug addiction.
Their discovery opens a new area of research for targeted therapy that would alter or disable the mechanism and make drug addiction less compulsive.
Researchers explained that turning off the mechanism diminishes the emotional impact and weight of the memory that drives people impulsive behind drug addiction.
They further mentioned that drug use creates memories so powerful that they hijack the system, and turns physiology into pathology.
It was observed that rats who were given cocaine in a drug cage, where they associate the experience with that particular place, the rats would draw memories of previous experiences there, reconsolidate them with new information and in effect reinforce the memory.
Megan Slaker, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience said that when they manipulated the rats and removed the nets from the prefrontal cortex, they analysed that animals had poorer memories.
Barbara Sorg, a professor of neuroscience at Washington State University, Vancouver, noted that the procedure probably did not erase the drug memory but blunted its emotional power.
The finding opened the possibility of developing a way to target, for example, a protein of the perineuronal nets, to counteract cocaine's influence over memories.
The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.