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.
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.