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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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Crime Does Not Increase Around Methadone Clinics in Baltimore

January 2013

Methadone treatment centers are not foci for serious criminal activity, according to a study that used crime reports and global positioning data to compare crime rates at various distances around methadone centers, hospitals, convenience stores, and residential neighborhoods.

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Brief Intervention Helps Adolescents Curb Substance Use

January 2013

NIDA-funded researchers have gathered evidence that brief interventions can help adolescents move away from drug use. In a clinical trial, middle and high school students markedly reduced their substance use following two 60-minute sessions that combined motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure Linked With Problems

December 2012

Study findings indicate that children exposed to methamphetamine prenatally show more signs of increased emotionality, anxiety, and depression than nonexposed children at ages 3 and 5 years.

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Animation: Building an Anti-Drug Vaccine

December 2012

The immune system has an extraordinary ability to recognize compounds foreign to the body and eliminate them. NIDA-sponsored scientists are working to harness this ability to create vaccines that will protect individuals against the psychogenic and addictive effects of abused drugs. This animation shows one of the most promising strategies, which has already yielded partial success in producing effective vaccines against nicotine, cocaine, and other drugs.

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Stress Receptor Mediates Lifelong Consequences of Early Trauma

November 2012

NIDA-supported research suggests that glucocorticoid receptor levels during early brain development affect the hard wiring of neural circuits that shape an individual’s basic emotional makeup. In mice, overexpression of the glucocorticoid gene in the first weeks after birth increased anxiety and response to cocaine in adulthood. These findings may help researchers understand the genetic background and the developmental trajectory of addiction.

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Good Behavior Game Wins 2012 Mentor International Best Practice Award

November 2012

The NIDA-supported Good Behavior Game recently was honored with the 2012 Mentor International Best Practice Award. The game, which focuses on reducing disruptive behaviors in elementary school classrooms, has been shown to prevent drug abuse and other problems in adolescence and young adulthood.

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Dr. Charles O’Brien Receives the James B. Isaacson Award for Lifetime Achievement

November 2012

NIDA researcher Dr. Charles O’Brien recently received the James B. Isaacson Award for a lifetime of research on the biological basis of alcoholism.

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Q&A: Dr. David Thomas

November 2012

NIDA Program Officer Dr. David Thomas speaks about the intertwined problems of pain and prescription opioid abuse, as well as the research supported by NIDA and the National Institutes of Health to address these problems.

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Animal Research Advances Effort to Develop Vaccines Against Cocaine, Heroin Abuse

September 2012

New vaccines that aim to promote recovery from cocaine and heroin abuse showed promise in animal testing. Both vaccines induced rats’ immune system to produce high titers of antibodies that inhibit the target drug from reaching the brain. The rats’ behaviors when given access to the target drug indicated that the vaccines reduced the reinforcing effects that, in recovering people, can cause lapses to turn into relapses.

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