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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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Molecular Alterations of DNA Contribute to Persistence of Memory

November 2011
In a new series of studies tracing the molecular events that occur in the brain as memories are formed and preserved, researchers find that certain epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to relapse.

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Gene Influences Impact of Maternal Smoking on Children's Behavioral Problems

July 2011
Describes research showing that the combination of prenatal smoking exposure and specific genes increases children’s and adolescent’s risk for behavior problems.

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Neuropeptide Promotes Behaviors Tied to Addiction and Overeating

July 2011

Reports on several studies implicating a certain neuropeptide (a signaling molecule) in fostering addition and overeating and discusses implications for addiction treatment.

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Cocaine Alters Production of Hundreds of Proteins

March 2011

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.

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Lower Levels of Dopamine-Regulating Receptors Among Novelty Seekers

October 2010

Describes research results reporting that people who favor novelty have lower-than-average availability of a receptor that inhibits dopamine's release from neurons, which likely stimulates the activity of reward circuits.

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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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Crack Cocaine Promotes Progression of HIV Infection to AIDS

October 2010
Reports on two studies showing a high prevalence of HIV infection and more rapid progression to disability and death among drug abusers.

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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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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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Genetic Overlap Between Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

April 2010

Describes a literature analysis reporting on the prevalence of people with bipolar disorder who also have a substance use disorder and discusses the genetic link that may contribute to this comorbidity.

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