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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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Home Visits by Nurses to Low-Income First-Time Mothers Yield Enduring Benefits (April 2012)

A program involving home visits by nurses to low-income first-time mothers, starting during pregnancy and extending into the second year of their children’s lives, has a positive and long-lasting impact on families. Children who participated in the program were less likely than others to report having used alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana at age 12.

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Alleviation of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder May Improve Addiction Treatment (April 2012)

Women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who abused drugs responded better to substance abuse treatment after their PTSD symptoms improved, according to a recent study, which also found that reductions in substance abuse did not ease PTSD severity

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Cognitive Strategy Reduces Craving by Altering Brain Activity (April 2012)

While viewing images of cigarettes, smokers reported milder cravings when they shifted their focus from the pleasures of smoking to its harmful effects. Brain imaging showed a correlation between the reductions in craving and altered activity levels in regions associated with emotional regulation and reward.

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Vouchers Improve Mothers’ Smoking Abstinence and Newborns’ Weight (April 2012)

Pregnant women who received financial incentives to refrain from smoking during late pregnancy were more successful at remaining abstinent and less likely to have babies with low birth weight, according to data from three trials.

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Desire to Smoke Subsides, But Cigarette Cues Retain Power (April 2012)

During early abstinence, smokers’ cravings triggered by cigarette cues intensified over time, providing evidence that people can experience a phenomenon previously observed in experiments with animals

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New Method Uncovers How Internal States Influence the Living Brain to Change Behavior (March 2012)

In an innovative NIDA-funded study, published in Cell, scientists introduced a modified dopamine receptor gene into the brain of a living vinegar fly

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Nicotine Dependence Linked to Higher Rates of Mental Disorders Among Teens (March 2012)

A study of teenagers in Chicago public schools finds higher rates of psychiatric disorders among those with more symptoms of nicotine dependence.

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NIDA Announces Avant-Garde Medication Development Awards (March 2012)

Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut are the recipients of NIDA’s 2011 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. Dr. Kosten is developing a vaccine against methamphetamine abuse and Dr. Burkhard is developing a vaccine to counter nicotine addiction.

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In Animals, Receptor Puts Brakes on Nicotine Consumption (March 2012)

New research suggests that differences in tobacco consumption reflect, in part, differences in the functional efficacy of a specific type of receptor in a pathway of the brain. In animal studies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with the α5 subunit played a key role in producing aversive responses to nicotine, thereby dissuading further consumption of the drug.

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Peers Increase Teen Driving Risk via Heightened Reward Activity (March 2012)

Adolescent, but not adult, drivers are more likely to take risks when peers are watching, a new study suggests.

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