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NIDA

Genetics

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.

Genes and Smoking

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

Reports on the research underway to identify gene variations associated with nicotine addiction and the interaction of genetic makeup, experiences, and surroundings to addiction.

Cocaine Can Mobilize Stored Dopamine

Describes a study showing that cocaine, which increases dopamine levels, also can tap into an intracellular dopamine reserve pool.

Epigenetics: The Promise of a New Science

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

Discusses the role of epigenetics, the study of cellular mechanisms that control gene expression and its impacts on health and behavior, in addiction research.

Chromosome 17 Harbors Opioid Dependence Genes

Describes the work of researchers who have found a statistical link between one region on chromosome 17 and an increased risk of opioid dependence.

Mice With Genetic Alteration Eschew Cocaine

Reports on a study involving researchers who successfully desensitized mice to cocaine by genetically altering their dopamine transporters.

New Technique Links 89 Genes to Drug Dependence

Presents research findings linking 89 genes to drug abuse and dependence, found using genome-wide association studies, a new technique for identifying genes.

Manic Mice Show Heightened Sensitivity to Rewards

Reports on an animal study suggesting that the manic stage of bipolar disorder promotes signs of drug abuse vulnerability by enhancing sensitivity to rewards, both natural and drug-related.

Ethnic Groups Have Contrasting Genetic Risks for Nicotine Addiction

Describes research exploring differences and similarities in the genetic profiles of African-Americans and European-Americans who are heavy smokers.

Smokers Who Quit May Have Genetic Advantage

Describes research providing evidence that genes may influence how successful a person is in quitting smoking and which cessation technique may work best for them.

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