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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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A Case for Studying Brain Asymmetry in Drug Use

September 2016
A new study proposes that research into the discrete roles played by the brain’s two hemispheres could yield important and actionable insights into drug use and addiction. Evidence indicates that two risk factors for substance use, impulsivity and craving, primarily reflect activity in the right and left hemispheres, respectively.

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A Gene Links Impulsivity and Drug Use Vulnerability

June 2018
Understanding the relationships between impulsivity and drug use vulnerability may help identify new ways of treating or preventing substance use disorders.

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A Genetic Nexus of Obesity and Smoking

October 2014
Research shows that some gene variants that influence body mass index also shape smoking behaviors.

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A New Tool for Investigating HIV in the Brain

August 2018
Researchers developed a tool that enables them to closely monitor HIV activity in key brain cells. The tool may accelerate the development of treatments for HIV in the brain.

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Adolescent Marijuana Use Is Linked to Altered Neural Circuitry and Mood Symptoms

August 2018
Some teens' marijuana use has been linked to disrupted communication between two key regions in the brain’s reward circuitry at age 20. Disrupted communication between the regions was associated with poorer psychosocial functioning at age 22.

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Adolescent Rats Self-Administer More Nicotine Than Adults

April 2009
Highlights an animal study involving the self-administration of nicotine among adolescent and adult rats to gain understanding of their potential vulnerability to the substance.

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Amphetamine Diverts the Brain’s Path to Maturity

July 2018
A key mechanism of adolescent brain development can be disrupted by amphetamine.

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Animal Study Suggests Marijuana May Affect Future Offspring’s Susceptibility to Heroin

February 2015
Can marijuana use put offspring at heightened risk for opiate addiction, even if the use stops before the offspring are conceived? Results from a recent NIDA-funded study are consistent with other studies suggesting that a parent’s history of drug use, even preconception, may affect a child’s brain function and behavior.

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Animation: The Rise and Fall of the Cocaine High

November 2014
This animation shows the rapid passage of cocaine through the brain. It demonstrates that the intensity of the cocaine “high” parallels the trajectory of cocaine levels in the brain.

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Brain Adaptation May Dampen Effects of Cocaine

October 2010
Reports evidence that a cocaine-induced change in the structure of brain cells represents an adaptive response that may limit the drug’s impact.

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