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17980Maybe "'Cognitive Chaos' In The Brain" is a good thing???

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Oct 27, 2011
      How Cannabis Causes 'Cognitive Chaos' In The Brain
      27 Oct 2011

      Cannabis use is associated with disturbances
      in concentration and memory. New research by
      neuroscientists at the University of Bristol,
      published in the Journal of Neuroscience [Oct. 25],
      has found that brain activity becomes uncoordinated
      and inaccurate during these altered states of
      mind, leading to neurophysiological and behavioural
      impairments reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia.

      The collaborative study, led by Dr Matt Jones
      from the University's School of Physiology and
      Pharmacology, tested whether the detrimental effects
      of cannabis on memory and cognition could be the
      result of 'disorchestrated' brain networks.

      Brain activity can be compared to performance
      of a philharmonic orchestra in which string, brass,
      woodwind and percussion sections are coupled
      together in rhythms dictated by the conductor.
      Similarly, specific structures in the brain tune
      in to one another at defined frequencies: their
      rhythmic activity gives rise to brain waves, and
      the tuning of these brain waves normally allows
      processing of information used to guide our behaviour.

      Using state-of-the-art technology, the researchers
      measured electrical activity from hundreds of neurons
      in rats that were given a drug that mimics the
      psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. While the
      effects of the drug on individual brain regions
      were subtle, the drug completely disrupted co-ordinated
      brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal
      cortex, as though two sections of the orchestra were
      playing out of synch.

      Both these brain structures are essential for
      memory and decision-making and heavily implicated
      in the pathology of schizophrenia.

      The results from the study show that as a consequence
      of this decoupling of hippocampus and prefrontal
      cortex, the rats became unable to make accurate
      decisions when navigating around a maze.

      Dr Jones, lead author and MRC Senior Non-clinical
      Fellow at the University, said: "Marijuana abuse
      is common among sufferers of schizophrenia and
      recent studies have shown that the psychoactive
      ingredient of marijuana can induce some symptoms
      of schizophrenia in healthy volunteers. These
      findings are therefore important for our understanding
      of psychiatric diseases, which may arise as a
      consequence of 'disorchestrated brains' and could
      be treated by re-tuning brain activity."

      Michal Kucewicz, first author on the study, added:
      "These results are an important step forward in
      our understanding of how rhythmic activity in the
      brain underlies thought processes in health and disease."

      The research is part of a Medical Research Council
      (MRC)-supported collaboration between the University
      and the Eli Lilly & Co. Centre for Cognitive
      Neuroscience that aims to develop new tools and
      targets for treatment of brain diseases like
      schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.

      Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236616.php
      Thism article is being shared for educational and
      non-commercial purposes only and thus is usable as
      allowed by the Fair Use Statutes