Researchers at Washington State University have revealed that it's possible to interfere with the brain's memory creation process, which is involved in cocaine addiction. Altering this process could make the drug less desirable.
The study mentioned that drug use creates memories so powerful that they hijack the system, and turns physiology into pathology. They further explained that turning off the mechanism diminishes the emotional impact and weight of the memory that drives people to drug addiction.
Researchers gave cocaine to rats and put them in a cage. Rats associated the cage with cocaine and drew memories of previous experiences there. "It's something similar to what people do," said Prof Barbara Sorg, author of the study.
Megan Slaker, a doctoral candidate in neuroscience said, "When we manipulated the rats and removed the nets from the prefrontal cortex, we analyzed that animals had poorer memories." Sorg concurred and added that it "probably did not erase the drug memory but blunted its emotional power".
The finding opened a new area of research for developing a way to target, for example, a protein of the perineuronal nets, to counteract cocaine's influence over memories. The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience