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NIDA

Basic Science

Immune System Plays Unexpected Role in Brain Development

Describes research findings demonstrating that the immune system participates in the shaping of brain circuits during a child's development, a finding that may shed light on the origins of neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain Proteins Differ in Cocaine-Overdose Victims

Describes research findings showing differences in protein concentrations in the brain pleasure centers of people who died from cocaine overdose as compared with those who did not abuse the drug.

Long-Term Cocaine Self-Administration Depresses Brain Activity

Discusses research exploring how widespread the reduction of neural activity is in the brain with chronic exposure to cocaine.

Imaging Studies Elucidate Neurobiology of Cigarette Craving

Reports on three separate imaging studies illuminating the neurobiology of cigarette craving.

Adolescent Rats Self-Administer More Nicotine Than Adults

Highlights an animal study involving the self-administration of nicotine among adolescent and adult rats to gain understanding of their potential vulnerability to the substance.

New Tracer for Nicotinic Receptors Promises Improved Specificity

Reports on NIDA researchers who developed a new tracer compound that binds readily to nicotine receptors and enhances positron emission tomography images.

Prenatal Nicotine Exposure May Damage Receptors That Influence Auditory Processing

Reports on a series of animal experiments indicating that nicotine exposure during prenatal fetal development damages a set of receptors in the brain's auditory processing center.

Methamphetamine Abusers Show Increased Distractibility

Highlights findings from a study of former methamphetamine abusers showing evidence of impairment in areas of the brain known to influence cognition, emotion, and decision making.

Low Dopamine Receptor Availability May Promote Cocaine Addiction

Describes findings from an animal study showing that cocaine lowers availability of dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that includes portions of the reward system.

Damage to Brain Area May Immediately Halt Cigarette Addiction

Describes a study among people who had sustained brain injuries to investigate whether certain damaged areas of the brain are associated with the ability to quit smoking.

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