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lecture18 - Life Science 15 Concepts and Issues Lecture 18...

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Life Science 15: Concepts and Issues Lecture 18: Why are drugs so good? Caffeine and alcohol: case studies 3/8/12 I. The synapse II. Do-it-again centers in the brain III. Drugs can hijack pleasure pathways Action potential comes down axon in pre-synaptic neuron. Neurotransmitter dumped in synapse (synaptic cleft) NT diffuses across synapse Binds to receptors Causes Na+ influx and depolarization NT reuptake and recycling occurs (also enzymatic breakdown in synaptic cleft) There are pleasure centers in animal brains. *1954: James Olds puts electrodes in the mesolimbic area of rats’ brains Rats loved the sensation and would do anything to get it Would navigate complex mazes, would self stimulate to the point of death from starvation It is one of several pleasure centers in the brain (do-it-again centers) Q: What good does it do an animal to have a set of neurons that makes them feel good?
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