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.
April 2012 Women with post-traumatic 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
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.
December 2011 Helping smokers deal with financial problems could improve their chances of staying abstinent after receiving treatment, according to a new study. Participants with the most financial strain had the least success in remaining abstinent.
November 2011 Individuals with weak signaling in a nicotine-sensitive brain circuit were more vulnerable to nicotine dependence than those with stronger signaling, according to a study conducted while the subjects’ brains were in a resting state. A second resting-state study finds that the same circuit appears to mediate dependence associated with a genetic risk factor for smoking.
November 2011 New studies show that microRNAs, snippets of RNA implicated in a wide variety of biological processes, are involved in promoting and inhibiting cocaine addiction. The findings could pave a new path for the development of anti-addiction therapies.
November 2011 In a new series of studies tracing the molecular events that occur in the brain as memories are formed and preserved, researchers find that certain epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to relapse.