Tag Archives: cocaine

Cocaine Can Produce Serious, Undetected Blood Vessel Damage

A cocaine user with chest pain may fail to produce angiogram results that clearly indicate a need for further medical care, a new study has found.

It’s well known that people who use the stimulant street drug cocaine have substantially increased short- and long-term risks for a range of serious and potentially fatal problems in their cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) systems. Doctors can use a procedure called an angiogram to detect serious malfunctions in the blood vessels connected to the heart. However, according to the results of a study presented to the American Heart Association in November 2014 by researchers from Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital, cocaine users can undergo potentially serious changes in their small, heart-related blood vessels that fail to register clearly on an angiogram. Continue reading

What the Brain Looks Like on Cocaine

That cocaine damages the brain should come as no surprise, but what researchers have done recently is make detailed images of just how much damage this drug can do. A new and exciting imaging technique is allowing researchers to see much more detail in the brains of mice being fed cocaine. Researchers can even see the damage done to the tiniest of blood vessels, called capillaries. Being able to track the flow of blood in the brain in such detail will help researchers better understand what drugs do in the brain and to develop better treatments for addicts.

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Does a Preoccupation With Drug Cues Increase Risk for Cocaine Relapse?

Essentially all people with a substance addiction are affected by drug cues that increase their chances of engaging in substance use in certain circumstances. In the context of substance treatment, the presence of these cues can significantly increase the odds that any given person will relapse back into active substance intake. In a study published in September/October 2014 in The American Journal on Addictions, a group of American researchers sought to determine if a particular preoccupation with drug cues before entering treatment increases the likelihood of a relapse in people recovering from cocaine addiction.

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Brain Has Natural Ability to Fight Off Relapse, Scientists Find

Habitual cocaine uses have clear risks for the onset of stimulant use disorder, a diagnosis that covers both non-addicted cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction. Once addicted, cocaine users who enter treatment have considerable risks for relapsing back into active consumption, even if they successfully maintain drug abstinence for extended amounts of time. In a study published in September 2014 in the journal Neuron, a multinational research team examined a built-in brain response that apparently helps people affected by cocaine addiction diminish their relapse risks.

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Crack Cocaine and Emphysema

Emphysema is a lung disease marked by the gradual destruction of tiny sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, which introduce oxygen into the bloodstream and remove the blood-borne waste gas carbon dioxide. In its main form, it belongs to a larger grouping of lung diseases, known collectively as chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, or COPD. People who smoke “crack” cocaine can significantly elevate their risks for a form of emphysema called bullous emphysema, which occurs when multiple alveoli collapse and form larger sacs, known as bullae, that don’t contribute to proper oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange within the lungs.

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Effects of Cocaine Use During Pregnancy

Women who use cocaine during pregnancy inevitably expose their developing fetuses to the drug, and once cocaine enters a fetus or newborn baby, it remains for longer amounts of time than it would in an adult. As a consequence of these facts, cocaine-using mothers and their developing fetuses and newborn babies have significantly increased risks for a variety of serious problems both during and after pregnancy. Among these potential problems are miscarriages, separation of the life-supporting placenta from the wall of the uterus, premature births, birth defects, and abnormally low birth weight.

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