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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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Why Take a Drug That No Longer Gives Pleasure?

September 2015

In mice, a cocaine-induced imbalance in the activity of two key populations of neurons in the reward system persists for a longer period after repeated exposure to the drug. For long-term users, this change could both weaken the cocaine “high” and strengthen the compulsion to seek the drug.

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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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Well-Known Mechanism Underlies Benzodiazepines' Addictive Properties

April 2012

New research establishes that benzodiazepines cause addiction in a way similar to that of opioids, cannabinoids, and the club drug GHB. The discovery opens the door to designing new benzodiazepines that counteract anxiety but are not addictive.

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Tracing NET

October 2007

Describes research that has led to the development of a new tool, a new radiotracer, for studying the neurobiology of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and stimulant abuse.

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THC Hampers Spatial Memory Development in Young Monkeys

September 2015

Adolescent monkeys that were exposed to THC fell progressively further behind THC-free monkeys in their ability to recall the location of an object after a brief delay.

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Study Pinpoints Cognitive Deficits Due to Cocaine, Finds Potential for Recovery

August 2013

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.

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Study Finds Genetic Influence on African Americans’ Smoking

November 2013

A meta-analysis of 13 genome-wide association studies of African Americans’ smoking patterns confirms the significance of genetic variation in region 15q25.1. The analysis also tentatively implicates several genome locations that have not previously been associated with smoking behaviors.

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Study Assesses Functional Deficits Due to HIV and Methamphetamine Use

November 2014

Methamphetamine use and HIV infection raise the risk for functional dependence, or the need for assistance with everyday tasks. People who use methamphetamine and are HIV positive showed the highest levels of functional dependence in most domains of daily life.

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Studies Link Family of Genes to Nicotine Addiction

December 2009

Reports study results suggesting that genes for several acetylcholine receptor proteins influence early smoking responses and the likelihood of nicotine dependence.

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Stress-Induced Enzyme Compounds Methamphetamine Neurotoxicity

January 2014

Ketoprofen, an anti-inflammatory agent commonly prescribed to treat arthritis, reduces neuronal damage in rats that have been exposed to chronic stress and methamphetamine. If this finding of a recent NIDA-supported study extrapolates to humans, anti-inflammatory medications may gain a place in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction.


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