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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

We can now measure the brain

Your Brain on drugs today - PET scans showing cocaine binding in the brain

This image depicts PET scans of a human brain taken at different intervals following administration of radioactive cocaine. Because the drug was “radiolabeled,” scientists can see precisely where cocaine binds in the brain (yellow signal) and for how long. Studies such as these teach scientists more about how cocaine exerts its devastating effects, and can illustrate to people in real time what happens to their brains on drugs.

This page was last updated July 2008