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NIDA Notes Articles: Addiction Science

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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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N-Acetylcysteine Postsynaptic Effect Limits Efficacy

January 2013

Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine to help people recovering from drug abuse avoid relapse have demonstrated only moderate efficacy. New NIDA-supported research shows that while a low dose of the medication activates receptors associated with lowered drug-seeking behavior, a higher dose appears to activate receptors associated with increased drug-seeking behavior. The result suggests that a medication or combination of medications that stimulate the receptor GluR2/3 and block mGluR5 may work better than N-acetylcysteine alone.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction?

September 2015

Two researchers share their reasons for researching transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating cocaine addiction, and describe challenges to moving forward this potentially promising therapy.

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Neuropeptide Promotes Drug-Seeking and Craving in Rats

October 2007
Reports on two studies indicating that orexin, a neuropeptide that stimulates eating and regulates wakefulness, also fosters animals' drug seeking and craving responses to drugs.

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Neuroscience Blueprint Promotes Efficiency, Synergy

June 2008

Describes a knowledge- and resource-sharing system for NIH-funded neuroscientists to access to data, advanced research tools, and technical assistance.

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New Insight Into How Cues Cause Relapse to Cocaine

May 2014

A brain response occurs in the nucleus accumbens when rats encounter a cue that they associate with previous cocaine self-administration, but not a cue associated with a pleasurable non-drug experience. Moreover, the response correlates in time and intensity with the animals’ cue-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking.


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