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.
New research demonstrated that, in rhesus monkeys, ongoing cocaine exposure weakens two brain functions that people require for successful behavioral change: cognitive flexibility and memory. But the study determined that these changes may not be permanent.
Fewer teens are using cigarettes, alcohol, and most illicit drugs, according to NIDA’s latest Monitoring the Future study. Troubling trends persist in marijuana use, however, and nonmedical prescription drug use remains a concern.
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.
Describes research findings that show that chronic cocaine abuse may change the production of many proteins in the neurons of the brain’s reward system, aiding in our understanding how the drug causes addiction.
Reports on the results of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of a cocaine vaccine designed as a therapy for cocaine abuse and plans underway for a new study of 300 patients to confirm these results.