UCSB Ph. D. Jennifer Wenzel, Professor Aaron Ettenberg Study Cocaine and the Pleasure Principle

March 05, 2014

UCSB researchers use animal models to demonstrate that the net result of cocaine use is a balance of both positive and negative effects On the other side of the cocaine high is the cocaine crash, and understanding how one follows the other can provide insight into the physiological effects of drug abuse. For decades, brain research has focused on the pleasurable effects of cocaine largely by studying the dopamine pathway. But this approach has left many questions unanswered. So the Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory (BPL) at UC Santa Barbara decided to take a different approach by examining the motivational systems that induce an animal to seek cocaine in the first place. Their findings appear in today’s issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

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