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Addiction Science

New Insight Into How Cues Cause Relapse to Cocaine

A brain response occurs in the nucleus accumbens when rats encounter a cue that they associate with previous cocaine self-administration, but not a cue associated with a pleasurable non-drug experience. Moreover, the response correlates in time and intensity with the animals’ cue-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking.

Dr. Joni Rutter Q&A: How Basic Science Is Tackling Addiction

One of NIDA’s goals is to try to understand the individual differences that contribute to whether or not someone who takes a drug will become addicted to it. Dr. Rutter’s research focuses on three types of differences: Environmental, developmental, and genetic and epigenetic.

UNODC Recommends Treating Addiction as Health, Not Legal, Issue

Earlier this month I went to Vienna for the 57th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), part of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). There I chaired a working group that presented a set of recommendations to the CND concerning the most appropriate, scientifically informed way to approach the problem of substance use disorders: as a medical, not a legal, issue.

Methamphetamine Alters Brain Structures, Impairs Mental Flexibility

Methamphetamine alters brain structures involved in decision-making and impairs the ability to suppress habitual behaviors that have become useless or counterproductive. The two effects were correlated, indicating that the structural change underlies the decline in mental flexibility.

Addiction and Free Choice

Glucose metabolism in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in healthy and cocaine-addicted subject.Glucose metabolism in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in healthy (left) and cocaine-addicted (right) subject.

Stress-Induced Enzyme Compounds Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity

Ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory agent commonly prescribed to treat arthritis, reduces neuronal damage in rats that have been exposed to chronic stress and methamphetamine. If this finding of a recent NIDA-supported study extrapolates to humans, anti-inflammatory medications may gain a place in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction.

Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Stops Compulsive Drug Seeking in Rats

Researchers have shut down laboratory rats’ compulsive cocaine seeking by stimulating an area of the animals’ prefrontal cortex. The finding raises the possibility that stimulating neurons in this brain area may weaken or break cocaine’s grip on the behavior of people who are addicted to the drug.

Dr. Evan D. Kharasch Joins the Institute of Medicine

Dr. Kharasch is a NIDA-funded researcher known for a broad range of research into how drugs are metabolized in the body.

Study Finds Genetic Influence on African Americans’ Smoking

A meta-analysis of 13 genome-wide association studies of African Americans’ smoking patterns confirms the significance of genetic variation in region 15q25.1. The analysis also tentatively implicates several genome locations that have not previously been associated with smoking behaviors.

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