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Basic Science

New Method Uncovers How Internal States Influence the Living Brain to Change Behavior

In an innovative NIDA-funded study, published in Cell, scientists introduced a modified dopamine receptor gene into the brain of a living vinegar fly

In Animals, Receptor Puts Brakes on Nicotine Consumption

New research suggests that differences in tobacco consumption reflect, in part, differences in the functional efficacy of a specific type of receptor in a pathway of the brain. In animal studies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with the α5 subunit played a key role in producing aversive responses to nicotine, thereby dissuading further consumption of the drug.

Marker for Neuronal Damage Resolves a Year after Methamphetamine

New results extend previous findings that some methamphetamine-induced neuronal damage resolves after a year of abstinence.

New Class of Regulators for Addiction Genes

New studies show that microRNAs, snippets of RNA implicated in a wide variety of biological processes, are involved in promoting and inhibiting cocaine addiction. The findings could pave a new path for the development of anti-addiction therapies.

Molecular Alterations of DNA Contribute to Persistence of Memory

In a new series of studies tracing the molecular events that occur in the brain as memories are formed and preserved, researchers find that certain epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to relapse.

Disruption of Neuron Production in Adult Rats Increases Cocaine Taking

Drug abuse may diminish production of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus and thereby increase vulnerability to drug addiction.

Resting Brain Studies Shed New Light on Vulnerabilities

Individuals with weak signaling in a nicotine-sensitive brain circuit were more vulnerable to nicotine dependence than those with stronger signaling, according to a study conducted while the subjects’ brains were in a resting state. A second resting-state study finds that the same circuit appears to mediate dependence associated with a genetic risk factor for smoking.

Stress Response May Underlie African- Americans' Reduced Pain Tolerance

Summarizes research suggesting a physiological difference as the explanation for African-Americans' reported low tolerance for pain.

Exposure to Morphine During Early Adolescence Sensitizes Rats as Adults

Presents highlights of a study indicating that exposure to morphine during adolescence may increase sensitivity to the drug during adulthood.

Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

Discusses the central importance of studying drugs' effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research.

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