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NIDA Notes Articles: Addiction Science

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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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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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Why Take a Drug That No Longer Gives Pleasure?

September 2015

In mice, a cocaine-induced imbalance in the activity of two key populations of neurons in the reward system persists for a longer period after repeated exposure to the drug. For long-term users, this change could both weaken the cocaine “high” and strengthen the compulsion to seek the drug.

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THC Hampers Spatial Memory Development in Young Monkeys

September 2015

Adolescent monkeys that were exposed to THC fell progressively further behind THC-free monkeys in their ability to recall the location of an object after a brief delay.

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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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Stress Hormone Sets the Stage for Relapse to Cocaine Use

June 2015

A stressed rat will seek a dose of cocaine that is too weak to motivate an unstressed rat. Researchers traced the physiological pathway that links stress and the stress hormone corticosterone to increased dopamine activity and heightened responsiveness to cocaine.

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Animal Study Suggests Marijuana May Affect Future Offspring’s Susceptibility to Heroin

February 2015

Can marijuana use put offspring at heightened risk for opiate addiction, even if the use stops before the offspring are conceived? Results from a recent NIDA-funded study are consistent with other studies suggesting that a parent’s history of drug use, even preconception, may affect a child’s brain function and behavior.

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Waletzky Memorial Award Winners’ Lectures at NIDA Illuminate Cocaine’s Many Effects on Brain Structure, Circuitry

January 2015

Dr. Paul E. M. Phillips spoke on “Phasic Dopamine Transmission During Substance Abuse,” describing investigations that he has led into the role of brief, seconds-long bursts of dopamine signaling in addictive processes. Dr. Rita Z. Goldstein spoke on “Targeting the Brain, Cognition, and Motivation for Intervention in Addiction.”

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Animation: The Rise and Fall of the Cocaine High

November 2014

This animation shows the rapid passage of cocaine through the brain. It demonstrates that the intensity of the cocaine “high” parallels the trajectory of cocaine levels in the brain.

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A Genetic Nexus of Obesity and Smoking

October 2014

Research shows that some gene variants that influence body mass index also shape smoking behaviors.


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