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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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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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Immune System Plays Unexpected Role in Brain Development

September 2008

Describes research findings demonstrating that the immune system participates in the shaping of brain circuits during a child's development, a finding that may shed light on the origins of neurodegenerative diseases.

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Imaging Studies Elucidate Neurobiology of Cigarette Craving

December 2008

Reports on three separate imaging studies illuminating the neurobiology of cigarette craving.

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High School Seniors Steadily Increase Nonmedical Use of Sedatives Over 15 years

October 2006

Highlights data from an annual national survey of youth showing a pattern of rising nonmedical use of sedatives among high school seniors.

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Genetic Overlap Between Substance Abuse and Bipolar Disorder

April 2010

Describes a literature analysis reporting on the prevalence of people with bipolar disorder who also have a substance use disorder and discusses the genetic link that may contribute to this comorbidity.

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Gene Variants Reduce Opioid Risks

June 2014

Two recent studies suggest that genotyping may enable clinicians to base therapies on individual patients’ potential responsiveness to opioid drugs’ therapeutic effects and vulnerability to their harmful effects.

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Gene Variant Is Associated With Reduced HIV Transmission

March 2016

A gene variant appears to partially shield people whose behaviors entail high risk for exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from becoming infected.

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Gene Transfer Therapy for Cocaine Addiction Passes Tests in Animals

January 2016

Giving mice a modified version of a naturally occurring gene blocks cocaine’s stimulant effects without affecting the animals’ physiological or metabolic health. The new evidence advances the proposed therapy a step closer to readiness for testing in people.

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Gene Influences Impact of Maternal Smoking on Children's Behavioral Problems

July 2011
Describes research showing that the combination of prenatal smoking exposure and specific genes increases children’s and adolescent’s risk for behavior problems.

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Gene Experiment Confirms a Suspected Cocaine Action

October 2007

Reports on the work of addiction researchers who are learning how acute and chronic cocaine exposure regulates certain genes, based on knowledge from developmental and cancer biology.

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