The consequences of drug use for the brain will be the topic that Fernando Hinostroza, PhD in Neuroscience, will address in a series of conferences to high school students.
There are many theories about the causes of addictions and although various origins are listed, ranging from the individual’s genes and peer pressure to emotional suffering and environmental stress, the truth is that people regularly start out of curiosity.
“Consumption has been shown to decrease the volume of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which plays a critical role in attentional control, and that implies there may be fewer neurons. In addition, there are fewer connections between neurons, in an area that is important for decision-making and for being able to plan for the future”, said the doctor in Neuroscience, also a member of the Center for Research in Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neurosciences (CINPSI-Neurocog for its acronym in Spanish), of the same campus.
«The goal of the webinars is to dissuade students from using,» he said.
Marijuana and the brain
The biologist by profession also explained that although marijuana is less addictive than drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine, it also causes addiction. “We have molecules in our brain that are responsible for synaptic plasticity, or the way our neurons communicate, and for things like regulating appetite or anxiety. Marijuana comes to alter all these processes and therefore can influence the way the brain develops», he remarks.
The webinars “Neuroscience and addiction: How do drugs affect our brain?” will begin in September in two schools in Talca until they reach six educational establishments. “The good news is that addiction has treatment. The first step is that the person wants to receive help”, highlighted the academic, who will carry out the sessions with the support of the National Agency for Research and Development of Chile (ANID for its acronym in Spanish).