Ever had a good laugh over those "this is your brain on drugs" commercials? Well, stop. It's no laughing matter, buddy, because now scientists can prove that cocaine changes your brain forever. But that's nothing compared to video games.
Because the fascination with cocaine's many ills knows no bounds, researchers Ashwin Mohan and Sandeep Pendyam have been looking into how the drug warps one's mind. And now they've found it: cocaine causes an excessive build-up of the some chemical called glutamate around synaptic nerve ends.
Our model showed that the glutamate transporters, a protein present around these connections that remove glutamate, are almost 40 percent less functional after chronic cocaine usage. This damage is long lasting, and there is no way for the brain to regulate itself. Thus, the brain structure in this context actually changes in cocaine addicts.
Alright, but what does that mean? We're not entirely sure, but a little pseudoscientific research tells us that exorbitant amounts of glutamic acid in the brain can be associated with nasty things like strokes and autism. While the doctors hope this brain-scan finding will help develop new recovery methods for coke heads, this information will almost certainly be used to scare kids away from drugs. That's a valiant mission, but we wonder whether attentions could be diverted elsewhere.
About 2 million people say they use cocaine on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 1 in 10 American kids are "addicted" to video games. If we were being conservative, we would put that at about 5 million people. According to the fascinating, frightening book iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, video games also change the way people's minds work — and in a much more frightening way: they can "stunt" frontal lobe development and lead to permanent, self-absorbed immaturity. Eek!
Basically, there could be an army of perpetual teenagers running this country one day. We know coke heads are annoying, but they're nothing compared to teenagers, God's greatest mistake.