A new study published in the journal Biomedical Optics Express reports on the development of a new laser-based imaging tool that can be used to map the effects of drugs on the network of blood flow to the brain.
The tool makes use of a technique called Optical Coherence Doppler Tomography (ODT) through which laser light is bounced off moving blood cells and can be used to find out how drugs such as cocaine affect the blood flow to the brain.
On conducting an experiment in mice, the researchers were able to find that a month of chronic cocaine injection led to a dramatic drop in the blood flow speed, raising the risk of aneurysm-like bleeding and strokes.
"We show that quantitative flow imaging can provide a lot of useful physiological and functional information that we haven't had access to before. The resulting images are the first of their kind that directly and clearly document such effects", co-author of the study, Yingtian Pan from the Stony Brook University in the US, said.