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NIDA Notes Articles: Addiction Science

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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 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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Chromosome 17 Harbors Opioid Dependence Genes

March 2008

Describes the work of researchers who have found a statistical link between one region on chromosome 17 and an increased risk of opioid dependence.

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Childhood Maltreatment Changes Cortical Network Architecture and May Raise Risk for Substance Use

November 2015

Young adults who had been maltreated as children differed from others who had not been maltreated in the connectivity of nine cortical regions. The differences could compromise the maltreated group’s basic social perceptual skills, ability to maintain a healthy balance between introversion and extroversion, and ability to self-regulate their emotions and behavior.

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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 Imaging Predicts Relapse to Cocaine

September 2015

A NIDA-supported study has found that a cocaine-addicted person’s chance of managing 1 whole year of abstinence correlates with activity levels in these impaired motivational and decision-making brain areas.

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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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Booklet Explains the Science of Addiction

June 2008

Describes a booklet that explains what scientists know about how drug addiction changes the brain and affects behavior and clears up misconceptions about drug addiction.


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