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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 9000
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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I have a MRI scheduled in two weeks and I've done cocaine

Customer Question

Hi I have a MRI scheduled in two weeks and I've done cocaine before will the cocaine show up on the MRI? If so does it show up only if I'm on it or if I've used in the past too? thanks!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

Hello Welcome to JA. I assume this is an MRI scan of the brain? The answer is no, there is no way an MRI can detect cocaine in your body. MRI essentially measures the specific relative amounts of water in each of the separate tissues in your body. The reason you can "see" your brain separated from your skull is because the relative magnetic spin moments of the tissue are different, because the water concentrations are different. So not to worry. If you wish to discuss anything further, please get back to me with a question and I will reply until you are satisfied. Dr Frank

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

ps. If you wish to discuss risk/benefit of using cocaine, and the changes to brain neurochemistry that occurs, please ask me as it is my research subspecialty. Dr Frank

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very very much and wow it's your research subspecialty?? Sure I'd love to talk about both the risks and benefits if you don't mind!
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

Yes. I research the brain effects of cocaine administration in humans by doing fancy research brain imaging studies, where we take cocaine for instance, make it radioactive in tiny amounts so that every molecule is tagged (nanograms) and give it to humans to study where it goes in the brain. (PET scan) . We can also look at specific dopamine receptors and transporters that are effected both acutely and chronically by cocaine use. We bring in chronic cocaine users, measure their brain neurochemistry, and compare it to demographically similar control populations (those that don't use coke, but have the same ethnicity, education, other social vices, etc) The risk is addiction, that you need to use it constantly and it brings risky behavior with it. The good news though is that if you quit, in 4 to 6 months your brain neurochemistry reverts back to its normal state pre cocaine, as opposed to many other drugs of abuse. For example, methamphetamine really causes micro infarctions (tiny strokes) in brain tissue that does not heal even in studies done 2 years post abstinence. So things could be worse. Dr Frank

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wow! That's a lot of information haha. So the only risk is addiction and tiny strokes in brain tissue?
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

Tiny strokes in the methamphetamine population. In cocaine, the conformational changes we see in binding in the dopamine transporter, in areas around the nucleus accumbens, seems to revert back to normal kinetics if you abstain from cocaine for 6 months. (that's the good news).

Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

Kate, I hope you are doing alright. Dr Frank

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm doing good I actually had my MRl yesterday and it was terrible but my results will be in soon thank you for all your help!!!
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

you are welcome, good luck to you, come back anytime if I can help Dr Frank