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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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Device Detects Marijuana in Breath Hours After Smoking

May 2014
Driving under the influence of marijuana is a dangerous public health concern. NIDA researchers have discovered that breath expelled into a Breathalyzer-style collection device contained measurable amounts of THC for up to 2 hours after participants in a recent clinical trial smoked the drug.

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Disruption of Neuron Production in Adult Rats Increases Cocaine Taking

November 2011
Drug abuse may diminish production of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus and thereby increase vulnerability to drug addiction.

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Dr. Antonello Bonci Q & A: Lighting Up the Brain To Shut Down Cocaine Seeking

July 2014
The Scientific Director of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about switching off animals’ compulsive cocaine seeking by optogenetically activating the prefrontal cortex, and the implications of this work for people. In an accompanying podcast, Dr. Bonci walks viewers through experiments that showed that prefrontal cortex activity levels may constitute a simple switch controlling whether or not animals compulsively seek cocaine.

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Drug Cues Outside Awareness Rapidly Trigger Brain's Emotion Centers

October 2009
Describes research showing that cocaine abusers appear to have a rapid neural response to reward cues outside of their awareness, possibly signifying vulnerability to relapse.

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EEG Indicates That Cocaine Relapse Vulnerability Peaks 1 to 6 Months Into Abstinence

September 2017
Electroencephalography (EEG) may provide an objective measure of cocaine-addicted participants’ vulnerability to cue-induced relapse. The assessment of cue-induced responsiveness may be useful in the clinical setting for assessing relapse risk and tailoring interventions to maintain abstinence among cocaine-addicted adults. 

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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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Ethnic Groups Have Contrasting Genetic Risks for Nicotine Addiction

October 2009
Describes research exploring differences and similarities in the genetic profiles of African-Americans and European-Americans who are heavy smokers.

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Exposure to Morphine During Early Adolescence Sensitizes Rats as Adults

October 2007
Presents highlights of a study indicating that exposure to morphine during adolescence may increase sensitivity to the drug during adulthood.

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Extended Cocaine Exposure Impairs Cognitive Function in Rats

November 2009
Reports an animal study presenting evidence that cocaine causes cognitive deficits that can persist well into abstinence.

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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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