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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Dr. Antonello Bonci Q & A: Lighting Up the Brain To Shut Down Cocaine Seeking

July 2014

The Scientific Director of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about switching off animals’ compulsive cocaine seeking by optogenetically activating the prefrontal cortex, and the implications of this work for people. In an accompanying podcast, Dr. Bonci walks viewers through experiments that showed that prefrontal cortex activity levels may constitute a simple switch controlling whether or not animals compulsively seek cocaine.

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Disruption of Neuron Production in Adult Rats Increases Cocaine Taking

November 2011
Drug abuse may diminish production of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus and thereby increase vulnerability to drug addiction.

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Digital Addiction Therapies Affirm Promise in Replication and Large Trial

November 2015

Two computerized programs improved outcomes when they were used to supplement or partially replace in-person behavioral therapy for drug addiction in recent NIDA-sponsored trials.

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Deep Brain Stimulation Reduces Rats' Cocaine Seeking

December 2010
Describes results from an animal study involving deep brain stimulation that holds promise as a therapy for severe cocaine addiction.

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Crack Cocaine Promotes Progression of HIV Infection to AIDS

October 2010
Reports on two studies showing a high prevalence of HIV infection and more rapid progression to disability and death among drug abusers.

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Combined Treatments Improve Dual Abstinence

October 2009

Reports on a study investigating the effectiveness of a combined therapy of disulfiram and naltrexone for people who abuse cocaine and alcohol.

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Cocaine Vaccine Helps Some Reduce Drug Abuse

December 2010

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.

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Cocaine Locks Rats Into Unrewarding Behaviors

April 2009

Describes research with rats to better understand cocaine’s effect on the neural signaling in the learning circuits of the brain.

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Cocaine Craving Activates Brain Reward Structures; Cocaine "High" Dampens Them

February 2007

Reports on a study that documenting changing emotional and neurobiological responses to cocaine with successive doses during a single session of drug taking.

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Cocaine Can Mobilize Stored Dopamine

March 2008

Describes a study showing that cocaine, which increases dopamine levels, also can tap into an intracellular dopamine reserve pool.

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