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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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New Vaccines Are Being Developed Against Addiction and Relapse

December 2008

Highlights NIDA-funded research to develop vaccines against addiction to drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.

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Nicotine Makes Mouse Brain More Responsive to Cocaine

February 2013

Nicotine sensitizes the mouse brain to the addictive effects of cocaine, according to recent NIDA-supported research. The results accord with the hypothesis that a person’s initial use of an addictive substance physiologically sensitizes his or her brain to the rewarding and addictive effects of other substances. If the findings carry over to people, then preventing youths from smoking might reduce their vulnerability to cocaine abuse and addiction, and cocaine-dependent individuals might ease their path to recovery by quitting smoking.

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Peer Interaction Enhances Adolescent Rats' Drug Reward

April 2010
Describes an animal study reporting that peer interaction enhances adolescent rats’ drug reward and discusses the impact of these findings to future research on drug reward in social context.

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Physical Activity Reduces Return to Cocaine Seeking in Animal Tests

April 2012

Two independent animal studies suggest that aerobic exercise might help cocaine abusers establish and maintain abstinence.

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Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Stops Compulsive Drug Seeking in Rats

January 2014

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.

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Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Increases Monkeys' Impulsivity Into Adulthood

July 2012

Prenatal drug exposure can have behavioral effects that last well into adulthood, according to two studies of adult monkeys prenatally exposed to cocaine. In the first study, drug-exposed monkeys exhibited less flexibility than controls in adjusting to changing circumstances; in the second study, drug-exposed males exhibited a greater preference than controls for having rewards right away, a sign of impulsivity.

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Program Helps Troubled Boys Reduce Substance Abuse

December 2011

Chronically delinquent boys in Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care reduced their substance abuse more than boys assigned to Community Group Care.

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Rare Glutamate Receptor Proliferates After Cocaine Withdrawal

December 2009

Reports findings that a rare neuroreceptor may be linked to the intensive cravings cocaine abusers experience during their first weeks of abstinence.

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Recovery May Be Harder for Adolescents, Animal Study Suggests

December 2009

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.

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Reducing Postpartum Drug Use

December 2008

Highlights a computerized intervention that reduced new mothers' drug abuse in the first 4 months postpartum as reported in a clinical trial of 107 women who abused drugs.

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