Uncovering the unexpected link between opioid use and memory loss

This led her to study fentanyl-induced amnesia, documented in a 2018 report in the New England Journal of Medicine and observed in a group of Massachusetts patients. In some people, fentanyl kills neurons in the hippocampus, an area of ​​the brain that is already vulnerable to oxygen deprivation that occurs during an overdose, causing cells to fire uncontrollably.

Because the syndrome is so rare, he came across some doctors who were skeptical about the connection between fentanyl and amnesia. The book traces how others like Jed Barash, medical director of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts, stubbornly sought answers, finally confirming how opioids can damage the hippocampus.

“These Alzheimer’s researchers and neuroscientists are heroes. We owe them a debt of gratitude, because I think there will finally be, if not cure, at least treatments, “he says.

Currently working on a medical fiction book, Aguirre attributes to MIT his willingness to make those leaps. “Being able to survive there gave me the confidence to believe that eventually, if you work hard enough, you’ll be right,” he says.

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