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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Waletzky Memorial Award Winners’ Lectures at NIDA Illuminate Cocaine’s Many Effects on Brain Structure, Circuitry

January 2015

Dr. Paul E. M. Phillips spoke on “Phasic Dopamine Transmission During Substance Abuse,” describing investigations that he has led into the role of brief, seconds-long bursts of dopamine signaling in addictive processes. Dr. Rita Z. Goldstein spoke on “Targeting the Brain, Cognition, and Motivation for Intervention in Addiction.”

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United States Ranks First in Lifetime Use of Three Drugs

November 2009

Highlights the disproportionately high rate of Americans who have used cocaine at some time during their lives as compared with other nations surveyed.

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Tobacco Smokers Have High Probability of Transition to Dependence

April 2012

First-time smokers have a much higher chance of eventually becoming dependent than first-time users alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine.

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Test Substance Attenuates Signs of Cocaine Withdrawal in Rats

December 2009

Reports on several drugs that may ward off depression and anxiety, common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, based on an animal study.

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Study Ranks Recovery Assets in Cocaine Addiction

July 2015

A can-do attitude, ability to cope with potential triggers for drug use, readiness to change, and participation in self-help programs are major assets for people trying to recover from cocaine addiction.

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Study Pinpoints Cognitive Deficits Due to Cocaine, Finds Potential for Recovery

August 2013

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.

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Stroop Test Identifies Patients at Risk for Treatment Dropout

April 2010
Reports on a study of cocaine abusers revealing that the Stroop test may predict which cocaine abusers are likely to drop out of therapy.

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Stress Receptor Mediates Lifelong Consequences of Early Trauma

November 2012

NIDA-supported research suggests that glucocorticoid receptor levels during early brain development affect the hard wiring of neural circuits that shape an individual’s basic emotional makeup. In mice, overexpression of the glucocorticoid gene in the first weeks after birth increased anxiety and response to cocaine in adulthood. These findings may help researchers understand the genetic background and the developmental trajectory of addiction.

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Stress Hormone Sets the Stage for Relapse to Cocaine Use

June 2015

A stressed rat will seek a dose of cocaine that is too weak to motivate an unstressed rat. Researchers traced the physiological pathway that links stress and the stress hormone corticosterone to increased dopamine activity and heightened responsiveness to cocaine.

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Serotonin System May Have Potential as a Target for Cocaine Medications

April 2007
Describes investigations to advance the development of potential drug abuse relapse prevention agents by targeting specific receptors of the neurochemical serotonin.

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