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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Cocaine Craving Activates Brain Reward Structures; Cocaine "High" Dampens Them

February 2007
Reports on a study that documenting changing emotional and neurobiological responses to cocaine with successive doses during a single session of drug taking.

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Cocaine Can Mobilize Stored Dopamine

March 2008

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

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Cocaine Abusers' Pretreatment Cue Responses Predict Recovery Success

February 2007
Reports on the work of researchers who used brain images to correlate cocaine-addicted patients' regional brain responses to drug cues with their outcomes in subsequent treatment.

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Chronic Cocaine Abusers Have Occult Insomnia in Early Abstinence

March 2008
Reports on research of chronic cocaine abusers who may feel they are sleeping better during early abstinence revealed that the opposite may be true.

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Brain Proteins Differ in Cocaine-Overdose Victims

December 2008

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.

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Brain Opioid Receptor Levels Predict Time to Cocaine Relapse

October 2010
Describes study findings revealing that cocaine abusers who maintain high levels of a certain receptor in their brain during early abstinence relapse sooner than abusers whose levels drop.

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Brain Mechanism Turns Off Cocaine-Related Memory in Rats

October 2006
Describes a series of experiments that have added to evidence that a brain enzyme controls key memory processes that link drug experiences, the surroundings in which they take place, and the urge to repeat them.

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Brain Changes Accompany Cocaine Withdrawal

February 2007
Summarizes an animal study of the neural changes in the amygdala portion of the brain that occur as a result of cocaine exposure followed by withdrawal of the drug.

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Brain Adaptation May Dampen Effects of Cocaine

October 2010
Reports evidence that a cocaine-induced change in the structure of brain cells represents an adaptive response that may limit the drug’s impact.

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Behavioral Response to Novelty Foreshadows Neurological Response to Cocaine

February 2007
Describes evidence supporting the view that developmental differences in brain systems that use the neurotransmitter dopamine underlie age differences in susceptibility to drug abuse.

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