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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.
Mephedrone and methylone, two stimulants commonly found in designer drugs such as “bath salts,” act on the brain much like MDMA (Ecstasy).
In a surprising finding, male rats who used cocaine sired male offspring who later exhibited blunted responses to the drug. Researchers determined the cause was an epigenetic alteration.
New research demonstrated that, in rhesus monkeys, ongoing cocaine exposure weakens two brain functions that people require for successful behavioral change: cognitive flexibility and memory. But the study determined that these changes may not be permanent.
Fewer teens are using cigarettes, alcohol, and most illicit drugs, according to NIDA’s latest Monitoring the Future study. Troubling trends persist in marijuana use, however, and nonmedical prescription drug use remains a concern.
Study findings indicate that children exposed to methamphetamine prenatally show more signs of increased emotionality, anxiety, and depression than nonexposed children at ages 3 and 5 years.
New vaccines that aim to promote recovery from cocaine and heroin abuse showed promise in animal testing. Both vaccines induced rats’ immune system to produce high titers of antibodies that inhibit the target drug from reaching the brain. The rats’ behaviors when given access to the target drug indicated that the vaccines reduced the reinforcing effects that, in recovering people, can cause lapses to turn into relapses.
Two independent animal studies suggest that aerobic exercise might help cocaine abusers establish and maintain abstinence.
Researchers correlate stimulant abusers’ improved performance on a memory training exerc ise with reductions in delay discounting.
New results extend previous findings that some methamphetamine-induced neuronal damage resolves after a year of abstinence.
Reports on a new medication strategy under investigated in animal studies that shows promise for preventing relapse to drug abuse.
Describe a study of newly arrested youths where researchers found correlations between the youths' prevalence of these sexually transmitted diseases and their cocaine and marijuana use.
Describes research findings that show that chronic cocaine abuse may change the production of many proteins in the neurons of the brain’s reward system, aiding in our understanding how the drug causes addiction.
Reports on the results of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of a cocaine vaccine designed as a therapy for cocaine abuse and plans underway for a new study of 300 patients to confirm these results.
Reports on research investigating whether certain medications might strengthen patients' understanding and memory retention.
Reports on several drugs that may ward off depression and anxiety, common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, based on an animal study.
Reports findings that a rare neuroreceptor may be linked to the intensive cravings cocaine abusers experience during their first weeks of abstinence.
Reports animal study findings that suggest adolescents' heightened sensitivity to drug reward puts them at enhanced risk of addiction and may also increase their challenges in recovery.
Reports an animal study presenting evidence that cocaine causes cognitive deficits that can persist well into abstinence.
Describes clinical trial results providing evidence that methadone maintenance to men in prison can pay off in better retention in community treatment and reduced drug abuse following their release.
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.
Describes research with rats to better understand cocaine’s effect on the neural signaling in the learning circuits of the brain.
Discusses research exploring how widespread the reduction of neural activity is in the brain with chronic exposure to cocaine.
Reports on an animal study showing that methadone, normally used as a therapy for opioid abuse, may prove to be an effective treatment for cocaine abuse.
Reports on study results indicating a medication prescribed for schizophrenia and manic phases of bipolar disorder shows promise as a cocaine addiction treatment.
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.
Highlights NIDA-funded research to develop vaccines against addiction to drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.
Reports prevalence rates of illicit drug abuse among youths and young adults based on 2007 data from a national survey of drug use and health.
Reports on a study involving researchers who successfully desensitized mice to cocaine by genetically altering their dopamine transporters.
Describes a study showing that cocaine, which increases dopamine levels, also can tap into an intracellular dopamine reserve pool.
Reports on the work of addiction researchers who are learning how acute and chronic cocaine exposure regulates certain genes, based on knowledge from developmental and cancer biology.
Summarizes a study on the use of incentives to encourage abstinence among methadone maintenance patients in outpatient programs.