A NIDA-funded study reveals major changes in the brains of heroin users. The scientific team from UCLA discovered that people addicted to heroin have 50% more neurons that produce the neurotransmitter hypocretin (also called orexin) than age-matched controls.
- Thannickal, et al. Opiates increase the number of hypocretin-producing cells in human and mouse brain, and reverse cataplexy in a mouse model of narcolepsy. Science Translational Medicine