Washington: Cocaine use may change the brain structure within hours - which could initiate drug addiction, a new study has found.Mice given cocaine showed rapid growth in new brain structures associated with learning and memory, according to a researchers from the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UC San Francisco.The findings suggest a way in which drug use may lead to drug-seeking behaviour that fosters continued drug use, scientists said.The researchers used a microscope that allowed them to peer directly into nerve cells within the brains of living mice, and within two hours of giving a drug they found significant increases in the density of dendritic spines - structures that bear synapses required for signalling - in the animals` frontal cortex.In contrast, mice given saline solution showed no such increase, researchers said.The researchers also found a relationship between the growth of new dendritic spines and drug-associated learning.Specifically, mice that grew the most new spines were those that developed the strongest preference for being in the enclosure where they received cocaine rather than in the enclosure where they received saline.
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