Cocaine and Memory Loss
Professor Seth Grant explains that taking cocaine reduces the expression of the PSD95 protein, which can lead to memory impairments.
Cocaine activates neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, which lead to a reduction in the expression of PSD95 protein. We know from earlier studies that reduction of that protein leads to learning impairments. And so, these studies published last year by Marc Caron and my own group show that cocaine can interfere with the fundamental learning mechanisms in the brain. This sounds like a very bad idea to take cocaine, as it leads to a sort of molecular brain damage.
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In studies of PSD95, Professor Seth Grant's group showed that memories are formed when neurotransmitter receptors associate with proteins.
Professor Seth Grant highlights PSD95 as an important example of a protein associated with a neurotransmitter receptor that affects learning.
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The idea that drug addiction is a result of 'learning gone wild' was bolstered by several reports.
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA receptors are important to forming memories - if we block NMDA receptors, we can block learning.
Professor Seth Grant explains that the Genes to Cognition research program is investigating the network of proteins that are important to learning.
Professor Seth Grant introduced the word 'hebbosome' to describe the multiprotein complex that converts neural activity patterns into a memory trace.
Professor Seth Grant discusses the complicated relationship between long-term potentiation and learning/memory.
New research showing how memories take shape may lead to better treatments for unwanted memories as well.