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NIDA Notes keeps you up to date on research advances in the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse and addiction and HIV/AIDS.

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Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Stops Compulsive Drug Seeking in Rats (January 2014)

Researchers have shut down laboratory rats’ compulsive cocaine seeking by stimulating an area of the animals’ prefrontal cortex. The finding raises the possibility that stimulating neurons in this brain area may weaken or break cocaine’s grip on the behavior of people who are addicted to the drug.

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American Researcher Dr. Charles O’Brien Knighted by French Government (January 2014)

NIDA grantee Dr. O’Brien was honored for his “exemplary personal commitment to French‒American relations as symbolized by … exceptional cooperation in science and in public health.”

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Dr. Evan D. Kharasch Joins the Institute of Medicine (December 2013)

Dr. Kharasch is a NIDA-funded researcher known for a broad range of research into how drugs are metabolized in the body.

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Medications That Treat Opioid Addiction Do Not Impair Liver Health (December 2013)

A trial of buprenorphine/naloxone (Bup/Nx) showed no evidence that the medicine was associated with liver damage. The drug gave results similar to those of methadone. The study data indicate that although most patients can be treated safely with either methadone or Bup/Nx without major concern for liver injury, clinicians are advised to continue to monitor the liver health of their patients who are on methadone or Bup/Nx therapy.

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Study Finds Genetic Influence on African Americans’ Smoking (November 2013)

A meta-analysis of 13 genome-wide association studies of African Americans’ smoking patterns confirms the significance of genetic variation in region 15q25.1. The analysis also tentatively implicates several genome locations that have not previously been associated with smoking behaviors.

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Naltrexone Implant Outperforms Daily Pill in Russian Trial (November 2013)

More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.

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Women Benefit From Policies To Prevent Teens From Buying Tobacco (November 2013)

Women who reached their majority in states with policies that restricted teens’ access to tobacco products were less likely to smoke from ages 18-34 than women in states without those policies. The research did not demonstrate that the policies had a comparable impact on men’s smoking.

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NIDA Seeks Applications for Women and Sex/Gender Differences Junior Investigator Travel Awards for CPDD (November 2013)

NIDA plans to provide $750 travel awards to 27 junior investigators to present their research on women or sex/gender differences in any area of drug abuse at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 14‒19, 2014. Deadline to apply is December 2, 2013.

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Study Parses Comorbidity of Cannabis Use and Social Anxiety (October 2013)

People with cannabis use disorder (CUD) are likely also to have social anxiety disorder (SAD), and comorbid SAD is associated with greater severity of cannabis-related problems. These findings highlight the importance of assessing CUD patients for SAD, as that disorder can be both a contributing cause and a consequence of CUD. Treating both disorders may be a key to helping patients recover from each.

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Dr. Marilyn Huestis Q & A: Matching Drug Effects to Drug Concentrations (September 2013)

Dr. Marilyn Huestis of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about conducting research on drug effects with human subjects, developing tests to help law enforcement identify drugged drivers, and an assay to help identify children whose prenatal exposure to anti-HIV drugs may put them at risk for adverse developmental outcomes.

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