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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 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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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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Animal Studies Elaborate Toluene's Effects

June 2008

Reports on evidence that toluene abuse can harm the nervous system and body, although scientists know relatively little about its specific actions.

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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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Brain Changes Accompany Cocaine Withdrawal

February 2007

Summarizes an animal study of the neural changes in the amygdala portion of the brain that occur as a result of cocaine exposure followed by withdrawal of the drug.

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Brain Imaging Predicts Relapse to Cocaine

September 2015

A NIDA-supported study has found that a cocaine-addicted person’s chance of managing 1 whole year of abstinence correlates with activity levels in these impaired motivational and decision-making brain areas.

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Brain Opioid Receptor Levels Predict Time to Cocaine Relapse

October 2010
Describes study findings revealing that cocaine abusers who maintain high levels of a certain receptor in their brain during early abstinence relapse sooner than abusers whose levels drop.


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