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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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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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Studies Link Family of Genes to Nicotine Addiction

December 2009

Reports study results suggesting that genes for several acetylcholine receptor proteins influence early smoking responses and the likelihood of nicotine dependence.

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Rats Reared Alone Show ADHD Signs

December 2009

Describes an animal study showing that rats raised in isolation may prove useful in future studies exploring the neurobiology that links impulsivity and vulnerability to addiction.

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Nicotine Boosts Mood, Brain Dopamine Levels

November 2009

Highlights findings from a study showing that nicotine triggers a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain's main reward area for cigarette smokers.

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Methamphetamine Turns Helper Cells Into Destroyers

November 2009

Describes research providing evidence that chronic methamphetamine abuse is associated with increased microglial cell activity in the brain leading to neurodegeneration.

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Extended Cocaine Exposure Impairs Cognitive Function in Rats

November 2009

Reports an animal study presenting evidence that cocaine causes cognitive deficits that can persist well into abstinence.

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Methamphetamine Abuse Alters Response to Facial Cues

October 2009

Highlights research showing methamphetamine abusers may have more difficulty than nonabusers in responding with empathy and self-control to people who are experiencing intense emotions.

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Receptor Complexes Link Dopamine to Long-Term Neuronal Effects

October 2009

Reports on a discovery of previously unrecognized dopamine receptors in the brain that when triggered by drug abuse lead to potentially long-term neuronal effects.

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Drug Cues Outside Awareness Rapidly Trigger Brain's Emotion Centers

October 2009

Describes research showing that cocaine abusers appear to have a rapid neural response to reward cues outside of their awareness, possibly signifying vulnerability to relapse.

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Ethnic Groups Have Contrasting Genetic Risks for Nicotine Addiction

October 2009

Describes research exploring differences and similarities in the genetic profiles of African-Americans and European-Americans who are heavy smokers.

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