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NIDA Notes keeps you up to date on research advances in the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse and addiction and HIV/AIDS.

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A Genetic Nexus of Obesity and Smoking (October 2014)

Research shows that some gene variants that influence body mass index also shape smoking behaviors.

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New Approach Uses Immune Cells To Deliver Anti-HIV Medications (October 2014)

Nano-antiretroviral therapy (nano-ART) turns macrophages—one of the very cell types that HIV uses to replicate and spread through the body—into carriers for anti-HIV medications. The approach has the potential to make treatment for HIV easier and more effective.

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Student-Scientists Present Award-Winning Research at NIDA (August 2014)

Four high school students were honored for their work regarding e-cigarettes, the GABAA neuroreceptor, and adolescent multitasking.

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Training Workshops Boost Approval of Contingency Management (August 2014)

Clinicians associated with the Veterans Administration looked more favorably upon contingency management after attending training workshops on the use of the intervention. Despite being highly effective at decreasing drug use, contingency management is one of the least used among proven substance abuse treatments.

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Self-Control Protects Urban Minority Youths From Drug Use and Depressive Mood (July 2014)

Interventions that bolster self-control in childhood and early adolescence might shield ethnic and racial minority adolescents and young adults from the burden of both drug use and depressive mood.

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Among High School Seniors, Driving After Marijuana Use Surpasses Drunk Driving (July 2014)

Within the 2 weeks prior to responding to a nationwide survey, 28 percent of high school seniors were in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks.

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Dr. Antonello Bonci Q & A: Lighting Up the Brain To Shut Down Cocaine Seeking (July 2014)

The Scientific Director of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about switching off animals’ compulsive cocaine seeking by optogenetically activating the prefrontal cortex, and the implications of this work for people. In an accompanying podcast, Dr. Bonci walks viewers through experiments that showed that prefrontal cortex activity levels may constitute a simple switch controlling whether or not animals compulsively seek cocaine.

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Gene Variants Reduce Opioid Risks (June 2014)

Two recent studies suggest that genotyping may enable clinicians to base therapies on individual patients’ potential responsiveness to opioid drugs’ therapeutic effects and vulnerability to their harmful effects.

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New Insight Into How Cues Cause Relapse to Cocaine (May 2014)

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.

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Device Detects Marijuana in Breath Hours After Smoking (May 2014)

Driving under the influence of marijuana is a dangerous public health concern. NIDA researchers have discovered that breath expelled into a Breathalyzer-style collection device contained measurable amounts of THC for up to 2 hours after participants in a recent clinical trial smoked the drug.

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    Researchers Speak: Dr. Antonello Bonci