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NIDA Notes Articles: Addiction Science

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Long-Term Cocaine Abuse Linked With Impaired Heart Function

March 2008
Summarizes research on the effects of long-term regular cocaine abuse on the cardiovascular system in African Americans.

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Long-Term Cocaine Self-Administration Depresses Brain Activity

December 2008

Discusses research exploring how widespread the reduction of neural activity is in the brain with chronic exposure to cocaine.

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Low Dopamine Receptor Availability May Promote Cocaine Addiction

April 2009

Describes findings from an animal study showing that cocaine lowers availability of dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that includes portions of the reward system.

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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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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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Methamphetamine Abusers Show Increased Distractibility

April 2009

Highlights findings from a study of former methamphetamine abusers showing evidence of impairment in areas of the brain known to influence cognition, emotion, and decision making.

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Methamphetamine Alters Brain Structures, Impairs Mental Flexibility

March 2014

Methamphetamine alters brain structures involved in decision-making and impairs the ability to suppress habitual behaviors that have become useless or counterproductive. The two effects were correlated, indicating that the structural change underlies the decline in mental flexibility.

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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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Mice With Genetic Alteration Eschew Cocaine

June 2008

Reports on a study involving researchers who successfully desensitized mice to cocaine by genetically altering their dopamine transporters.

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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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