Drugs change your brain: drug abusers may alter their brains forever.
Brain shrinkage: Inhalants can kill so many brain cells that the brain actually shrinks! Memories and skills begin to disappear. Learning new things becomes more difficult.
Memory loss: Marijuana, inhalants, and ecstasy change neurons in the hippocampus, damaging short-term memory. Phone numbers are hard to remember; directions and even conversations may become difficult to follow.
Interrupted thinking: MDMA (ecstasy) can destroy brain cells in the cerebral cortex, the center of thinking used in math, language, planning, and game strategies.
Increased pressure: Cocaine may boost the pressure of blood flowing through the brain until blood vessels explode. Then, brain cells can't receive oxygen from blood and die. This "brain attack" is called a stroke.
Slowed breathing: Heroin acts on the brain stem to slow Breathing--sometimes so much that the user stops breathing and dies. Heroin also blocks pain messages from the body so they can't reach the brain
Craving: Drugs such as nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine retrain the brain to crave drugs. To a drug abuser, the good things in life--food, the company of others, achievements--no longer feel as pleasurable.
Impaired movement: Inhalants can damage or destroy myelin, a coating on neurons that helps messages travel quickly from brain to body. Muscle spasms, tremors, or permanent movement difficulties may result.
Fill in the Blank
1. The brain may-- when inhalants kill cells.
2. Cocaine abusers risk damage to their brains from --because the drug boosts blood pressure.
3. Heroin acts on the brain stem, slowing the user's  4. Inhalants can damage --a protective coating on neuron fibers, resulting in tremors or spasms.
5. Heroin users may feel little-- if they injure themselves.
6. Marijuana changes the brain's hippocampus, the seat of short-term-- 
7. Memories and----disappear when inhalants kill brain cells.
8. Drug addicts have a----for drugs, not food or fun with other people.
9. To think of a game  you use your cerebral cortex.
10. MDMA (ecstasy) users may have problems --their own birthday party!
Unscramble the bracketed letters from above.
If you do this, you can actually boost your brainpower! a new
KNOW YOUR BRAIN GLOSSARY, PART TWO
Brain stem: The base of the brain, in charge of breathing, heart rate, and digestion--things you don't think about.
Cerebral cortex: The thinking part of the brain, which you use when you speak, plan, do math, and create strategies.
Hippocampus: The part of the brain's limbic system where short-term memories are formed and stored.
Myelin: A fatty coating on the fibers of neurons that helps messages travel quickly along neurons in the brain.
Stroke: A "brain attack" caused by burst blood vessels in the brain. Without a flow of blood and oxygen, brain cells die.
For a brain diagram and more brain terms, see "Messed-Up Messages," p. 3
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|Date:||Nov 24, 2003|
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