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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine

August 2017

New research demonstrates that the hormone estradiol is responsible for females’ increased sensitivity to stimulant drugs.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 3

March 2017

In the final installment of this series, Dr. Diana Martinez navigates the process for receiving NIH funding to test the efficacy of using transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatment for cocaine addiction.

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Endocannabinoid Regulates Cocaine Reward

March 2017

  • Investigators have shown that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid manufactured within the body, as opposed to plant-derived), augments the cocaine-induced dopamine surge in the brain’s reward system.
  • The discovery adds to evidence that inhibiting activity in the endocannabinoid system might reduce cocaine’s rewarding and addictive effects.  

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Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

March 2017

Drugs can alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. This article discusses the central importance of studying drugs’ effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research. 

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Nonmedical Treatment for Cocaine Addiction Shows Promise in Pilot Trial

November 2016

Patients who received transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) were more likely to abstain from cocaine than patients who received medications for symptoms associated with abstinence. Researchers concluded that TMS appears to be safe and its efficacy as a treatment for cocaine addiction deserves to be evaluated in a larger clinical trial.

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Why Do People Lose Control Over Their Cocaine Use?

September 2016

Researchers monitored the activity of two types of neurons in mice: “urge” neurons, which promote feelings of reward and repeating behaviors that have produced rewards, and “control” neurons, which dampen those feelings and inhibit behavior.

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Slow-Release Amphetamine Medication Benefits Patients With Comorbid Cocaine Addiction and ADHD

August 2016

Treatment with an extended-release stimulant medication plus cognitive behavioral therapy was associated with reductions in cocaine use and in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in patients with both disorders.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 2

July 2016

During investigations into using transcranial brain stimulation (TMS) to treat cocaine abuse, two projects take diverging paths. One researcher moves to the next stage, while another is forced to cut his trial short. 

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Testing a Prospective Medication To Help People Avoid Relapse

March 2016

This NIDA Notes animation depicts a basic experiment that researchers use to test whether a prospective new medication can prevent relapse to drug addiction.

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Protein Diminishes Cocaine Reward and Cocaine-Related Learning in Animals

February 2016

The protein acid-sensing ion channel 1A (ASIC1A) is naturally present in the brain and reduces laboratory animals' attraction to environments in which they have experienced cocaine's effects.

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