Mind Matters

Test Your Knowledge

See if you’re up for the challenge. Exercise your brain and test your knowledge of drugs and how they affect the brain and body.

Anabolic Steroids

Muscular Man

Question 1

The word “anabolic” means...

Correct! Athletes abuse anabolic steroids in order to artificially increase muscle mass. Some people like to look big even if it means doing ugly things to their insides.

Well, the types of steroids that are prescribed by doctors to reduce swelling are called corticosteroids and are not addictive. When medication is taken as prescribed, it can be very helpful to a patient.

Nope! Estrogens are female hormones that develop and maintain secondary female characteristics, such as breasts. Both girls and boys have a balance of female and male hormones.

No, but interesting anyway! Coined by the U.S. mathematician Edward Kasner's nephew, this term represents a number that is equal to 1 followed by 100 zeros and is expressed as 10 100.

Question 2

The body’s defense against germs and diseases is called...

Uh-uh! This term refers to a decimal system of weights and measures, adopted first in France but now used widely in science.

Nope! This term refers to the region of the brain that functions as the main control center for the autonomic nervous system by regulating sleep cycles, body temperature, and appetite, among other things.

Yup! The immune system protects the body from foreign substances by destroying infected cells. When the immune system gets weak, we are more prone to getting sick.

No. This term refers to structures in the brain that are involved with emotions and memory.

Question 3

Anabolic steroids in the brain may trigger behavior known as...

Right! This term refers to the aggressive behavior exhibited by those who regularly use steroids. People may also become highly irritable, depressed, and moody.

No. The use of steroids makes the person anything but stable. Most people show irritable, aggressive, depressed, and moody behavioral changes.

Nope. The use of steroids doesn't make an individual hilarious or even moderately funny because of possible severe mood swings.

While a person may get depressed during sustained use of anabolic steroids, this is not the answer we were looking for.

Question 4

Healthy ways to gain muscle that won’t leave you feeling all gross and irritated with your friends and family include...

Yes! Lifting weights is the natural way to gain muscle mass on your body. 

French fries will not help you gain muscle, but eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables will help your body be healthy and strong.

Dream on! If increasing muscle mass was that easy, our country would have the most muscular population in the world.

Nope! While playing chess may be good exercise for your brain, it won't help you build more muscles.

Cocaine

Speeding lights

Question 1

There are lots of different kinds of stimulants. Which of the following is NOT a stimulant?

Nope… Caffeine, which is found in coffee and many soft drinks, is a mild stimulant.

Correct! Heroin is not a stimulant. In fact, it causes a person to feel sleepy, which is the opposite of what stimulants do.

No. Methamphetamine is a powerful and addictive stimulant. It can cause long-term damage to the brain.

Nope. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that prevents the neurotransmitter dopamine from being removed from the space between neurons (synapse).

Question 2

Cocaine can damage the heart by causing:

Uh-uh! Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. It's actually a problem with the stomach that is caused by excess acid.

Correct! Cocaine can cause blood vessels to narrow, making the heart beat faster. Fibrillation is when it beats so fast that it loses its natural rhythm.

No! Cocaine actually causes the heart to beat faster.

No. Cocaine reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the heart by limiting blood flow to the heart. Remember, blood carries oxygen.

Question 3

Scientists are using cloning to learn more about how cocaine acts in the brain. What is a clone?

Yes! By copying a gene, scientists can study how that gene works, which may help them in developing treatments for a lot of things, including drug addiction.

Try again! Although the famous sheep Dolly was an identical clone of another sheep, most baby sheep are not clones.

No. Scientists can use cloning to understand how the brain works, but there is no part of the brain that is a clone.

No, you're probably thinking of a clown.

Question 4

Which of the following is the part of the brain that controls feelings of pleasure?

Nope! Although dopamine is involved in pleasure, it is a brain chemical, also called a neurotransmitter, not a brain structure.

No, Dendrites are a part of a neuron that receives messages from another neuron. 

No. Receptors are located throughout the nervous system, including in the limbic system where feelings of pleasure are controlled, but they are not a brain region.

You got it!

Drugs and the Brain

Question 1

Neurons are special cells in the body. What chemicals do they release to talk to each other?

Not quite. Synapses are the gaps between neurons where neurotransmitters are released.

No. The basal ganglia pushes us to do healthy activities like eating or hanging out with friends.

The brain stem is a part of your brain, but it’s not a chemical like a neurotransmitter. It controls your heart rate and breathing. Try again!

Awesome! Yes, neurons send messages to each other by releasing neurotransmitters. This is how neurons can talk to each other and make your brain and body do things, like go for a walk.

Question 2

Which statement is INCORRECT about the brain?

This is absolutely true! But, we’re looking for the INCORRECT statement here.

Guess again! This is a true statement. The three main parts of the brain affected by drug use are the basal ganglia, extended amygdala, and prefrontal cortex.

You’re right! The brain actually weighs only three pounds.

Nope! This statement is correct. You need your brain for the five senses – taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound.

Question 3

Drugs change the way that neurons talk to each other, which can make you act in ways that you normally wouldn’t. What are some of the ways that drugs can make you feel?

Correct! When you take drugs for a while and then try to stop, it can make you feel really sick. But there are other effects from drugs. Can you find them?

Yep! Are there other answers that show how drugs can make you feel?

This is one of the many effects drug use can cause, but can you find more?

Yes! Drug use can also make it hard to make good decisions and control your actions.

Question 4

Which of the following are true?

People who are addicted to drugs…

Yup! When you take drugs, the brain has learned to crave the drug all of the time, but addiction does many other things to the body.

Nope. You actually can get other medical problems when you take drugs, even death.

Yeah! This is because long-term drug use can lead to serious changes in the brain that affect how you think and act. See if you can find other choices that make the statement true!

You’re right. People who are addicted to drugs can’t stop taking them, even when they know it’s bad. Check out some of the other correct choices here.

Hallucinogens

Teen double image

Question 1

The word “hallucinate” comes from the Latin words meaning:

Yup! No wonder some people refer to hallucinating as “tripping”. Hallucinogens powerfully affect the way our five senses work and change our impressions of time and reality.

The influence of hallucinogens does make your brain lose control of how you perceive the world. In fact, senses seem to get crossed—giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. However, the word “hallucinogens” doesn’t come from “to slip”. 

In some people, hallucinogens can cause drowsiness, but this is not the correct answer.

Hallucinogens can disrupt how the brain works, but this isn't the correct answer .

Question 2

MDMA and MDA cause neurons to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can cause which of the following?

Ulcers are medical conditions in which sores form on a sensitive lining, such as the stomach. Ulcers aren't caused by the release of serotonin.

Correct! Serotonin neurons have a role in lots of things, such as mood and sleep. MDMA and MDA can disrupt the function of these neurons and alter behavior.

Although gingivitis is a disease, it is caused by poor dental hygiene. While serotonin doesn't play a role in whether you get gingivitis, we just wanted to remind you to keep up the good brushing.

Gray hair is not caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin, but your parents may get gray hair if you abuse MDMA, MDA or any illicit drug.

Question 3

LSD and PCP can change the way that neurons communicate, which can cause changes in how you sense the world around you. Which of the following is used by neurons to communicate?

Right! Chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, send information from nerve cell to nerve cell in the brain and body. These speedy couriers trudge through wind, hail, sleet, and snow to deliver your nervous system messages on time!

No, chromosomes carry the genetic code (genes) for the production of neurotransmitters, but they themselves are not used by neurons to communicate.

Nope. Morse code is a system of communication that consists of either long and short sounds or dots and dashes to transmit messages over long distances. It is not used by neurons to communicate.

Nope. Although, the computer system you're accessing these questions on is kind of like a brain. The computer network around the world does constantly send messages back and forth with amazing speed, much like your brain and body.

Question 4

Some hallucinogens are natural. However, many hallucinogens are chemicals that don't occur in nature. Can you identify some of these man-made chemicals?

Correct! Lysergic acid (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP) are powerful hallucinogens that aren't found in nature. The effects of these drugs are unpredictable: they can alter your senses, affect your moods, or cause vivid hallucinations.

While mescaline is a potent hallucinogen, it is found in nature. Mescaline comes from a cactus called peyote.

Nope—gasoline is an inhalant, not a hallucinogen. But it is a chemical you should be wary of.

No, serotonin is a neurotransmitter, not a hallucinogen. But hallucinogens can affect neurons that contain serotonin. 

Inhalants

Question 1

Inhalants, such as hair spray, gasoline, and spray paint, can often be identified by their:

Yes! Many inhalants can be identified by their strong smell. When inhaled, the vapors can change the way the brain works and make people feel good for a short time. Using inhalants can also cause slurred speech, lack of coordination, dizziness, and even brain, kidney, or bone marrow damage, and spasms of arms and legs.

No, Myelin is a fatty tissue that protects many of the body's nerve cells. While myelin is affected by inhalants, myelin itself is not a characteristic of inhalants.

No, inhalants harm the brain by preventing neurons from receiving oxygen. Then, the neurons may stop functioning, making it hard to remember things such as how to do your algebra problem.

No, while many inhalants are household products or art supplies, you can't really identify inhalants by their usefulness.

Question 2

Inhalant vapors may get lodged in the fatty tissue that surrounds neurons. This tissue plays a key role in allowing brain cells to communicate. The name of the fatty tissue is:

Yes! Myelin is the protective cover that surrounds many of the body's nerve cells. When inhalants are used, they can break down myelin and prevent nerve cells from transmitting messages.

No, noradrenaline is a neurotransmitter that causes the heart to beat faster. Inhalants can make the heart more sensitive to noradrenaline so that even a normal jolt of it may cause the heart to lose its rhythm or even stop.

No, this is the part of the brain that solves complex problems and plans ahead. When inhalants are ingested, nerve cell activity in the frontal cortex can slow. But the frontal cortex isn't a fatty tissue.

No, polyneuropathy is a permanent change or malfunction of nerves in the back and legs that can be caused by inhalant use.

Question 3

Butane, found in cigarette lighters and refills, makes the heart extra-sensitive to:

No. Myelin is the fatty tissue that protects many of the body's nerve cells. Inhalants may deplete myelin content, but they don't make the heart more sensitive to myelin.

Correct! The chemical noradrenaline tells the heart to beat faster when you are stressed. Butane makes the heart extra-sensitive to noradrenaline so that a normal jolt of noradrenaline can cause the heart to lose rhythm or stop pumping.

No. The hippocampus, the part of the brain that is important in memory, doesn't really have an effect on the heart. Sniffing inhalants, though, does damage the hippocampus. Someone who repeatedly inhales these chemicals may lose the ability to learn new stuff.

No. Inhalants can actually interfere with romance by causing a person to be slow, clumsy, and uncoordinated.

Question 4

Damage from long-term use of inhalants can slow or stop nerve cell activity in some parts of the brain including:

Yup! This is the part of the brain that solves complex problems and plans ahead. If the frontal cortex is damaged, you could find yourself continuously stumped in school.

Try again—the liver is not part of the brain. But use of inhalants can cause the liver to stop working, which can lead to death.

Nope. While inhalants can slow, stop, or make the heart lose rhythm, the heart isn't part of the brain.

Hardly! “Gluteous maximus” is Latin for your royal backside. Scientists haven't yet documented any effects of inhalants on the rump.

Marijuana

Marijuana Leaf

Question 1

Which of the following statements are TRUE about marijuana?

Yup! Your brain is still growing and changing until your 20s, so using marijuana as a teen can change how your brain grows. But, there’s another statement here that is true too.

No way! Over time, marijuana can change the way your brain works. If you stop using marijuana, your body can get confused and you can start to feel sick. This makes it hard to stop, which is called an addiction.

No, this is not true. Even though you’re not inhaling smoke, studies show that vaping can be harmful because you still inhale chemicals.

Yes, this is one of the short-term effects of using marijuana. There’s another true statement about marijuana among the choices here.

Question 2

Marijuana can affect your brain and body. Which is NOT a long-term effect?

Yes, you are correct! This is a short-term effect. However, when people take marijuana over and over again to get this feeling, it could lead to more serious long-term effects that affect memory and learning skills.

No. This is a long-term effect on the body, so this is not the right response.

No. This is a long-term effect on the body. We are looking for answers that are NOT long-term effects.

No. This is not the correct response because these are long-term effects.

Question 3

True or False: Marijuana for recreational use is legal for teens in every state.

No way! Although laws about marijuana for recreational use vary by state, marijuana use is NOT legal for teens in any state.

You’re right. Marijuana use is NOT legal for teens in any state!

Question 4

What are some common ways that people use marijuana?

Yup. People can smoke marijuana rolled up like cigarettes. What are some other ways people use marijuana?

Yeah, people put marijuana in tea and drink it. Check out the other choices of how people use marijuana.

No, injecting or “shooting up” is not a common way that people use marijuana.

You’re right! Please select another common way how marijuana is used.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine

Question 1

Methamphetamine is able to act in the brain because it has a structure similar to which brain chemical?

No. Endorphins are the brain's pain fighting system, but they have no similarity to methamphetamine. 

No. The amygdala isn't a chemical. It's an important brain region that helps you feel pleasure. 

No. Although chocolate can make your brain feel good, there are no chocolate chemicals in the brain.

Yes! Dopamine, which is sometimes called the pleasure chemical, has a shape and chemical structure that is similar to methamphetamine. This is partly why methamphetamine causes its many effects in the brain.

Question 2

Which of the following is part of a neuron?

Correct! Axons are the long projections that neurons use to communicate with each other. Drugs like methamphetamine can change the way neurons communicate. 

No! Crystal is another name for methamphetamine.

Nope, serotonin is actually a neurotransmitter that is found within neurons. Methamphetamine can change the way neurons that contain serotonin work. 

Try again. Positron emission tomography, or PET for short, is a fancy technique for looking inside the brain to see how it works.

Question 3

Which of the following are effects of methamphetamine?

This is correct, but methamphetamine does many other things to the body.

This is correct, but there are many other effects from methamphetamine. 

This is one of many things that methamphetamine can cause.

Correct! Methamphetamine can also cause certain types of hallucinations, loss of appetite, and even strokes.

Question 4

True or False: Methamphetamine can cause long-term damage to neurons that contain the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Correct! Researchers have found that even years after methamphetamine users have stopped using the drug, their dopamine neurons are still damaged. 

Try again. Methamphetamine can not only damage neurons that contain dopamine, but it can also cause damage to neurons with another neurotransmitter, serotonin.

Nicotine

cigarette buts

Question 1

True or False: Nicotine is the chemical found in tobacco. It is not very addictive.

No way! Nicotine is very addictive!

You’re right! Nicotine is very addictive. Over time, nicotine can change the way your brain works. If you stop using it, your body can get confused and you can start to feel really sick. This makes it hard to stop using nicotine products even when you know it’s bad for you.

Question 2

Which product is an electronic device that people use to inhale nicotine?

Cigars are not electronic devices. But they are products that you smoke to get nicotine. Guess again!

Chewing tobacco is a smokeless product, so this is definitely not the correct response. But, it does have nicotine in it, so, it’s just as dangerous.

Yes! This is an example of an electronic device people use to inhale nicotine.

Nope. This is a water pipe that you use to smoke flavored tobacco; it’s not an electronic device.

Question 3

Select the statements that are TRUE about the health effects of tobacco.

No, this is the wrong response. Tobacco use harms every organ in your body!

Try again. Smokeless tobacco products are dangerous, too. They can cause oral cancer and heart and gum disease.

Yup! This is one of the two correct responses! Please select the other correct response.

Yes! This is one of the correct choices. Smoking tobacco can also cause lung problems and heart disease. Find the other correct response here.

Question 4

E-cigarettes are:

Nope! There’s not enough science to prove that this is true. In fact, some research show that non-smoking pre-teens and teens who use e-cigarettes might go on to use other tobacco products.

You’re right! These are some other names that people call e-cigarettes. There is another correct response here, though.

Yup! People use e-cigarettes to inhale nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. Do you see the other correct choice?

Close! But e-cigarettes are smaller than this. They can look like pens and USB drives.

Opioids

Poppy Flowers

Question 1

Which of the following are INCORRECT statements about opioids?

This is a correct statement. When taken as a doctor tells you, prescription opioids are used as medicine. But, we’re looking for INCORRECT statements.

This is a very true statement about the dangers of opioid misuse, so this is not the right answer.

This is a correct statement, so it is not the response that we're looking for.

Yes, this is the right response! Heroin is a type of opioid but it is not used as medicine. It is an illegal drug people use to get high.

Question 2

People sometimes call opioids names like…

Nope! Vapes is not a name for opioids. It's actually another name for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs.

Yeah! Sometimes people call opioids Oxy. Other opioid names are Percs, Vikes, Happy Pills, and OC. 

Oh, no! Pot is a name that people call marijuana, not opioids.

No. Spice is a name used for synthetic cannabinoids. It’s also known as K2.

Question 3

What are some ways opioid addiction can affect your life?

Yeah, this is definitely a correct response. There’s another choice here that is a correct response to this question too!

This statement is not true. If you stop taking opioids all of a sudden, you can have unpleasant or painful symptoms like severe cravings, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes.

Nope. It can cause short-term effects, like slowed or stopped breathing, nausea, and confusion AND over time, opioid addiction can also lead to long-term effects on your health, like heart and lung infections.

You’re absolutely right!  When someone is addicted to opioids, it can take over their life. Taking drugs and getting high can become all you think about, making other things less enjoyable.

Question 4

True or False: One way that people misuse opioid pain medicines is taking pills that are not prescribed for them.

Yes! This is the correct response. Another way that people misuse opioid medicines is taking pills to get high or taking more than your doctor prescribed for you.

No, this is not the right answer. The statement above is true.

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