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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Increases Monkeys' Impulsivity Into Adulthood

July 2012

Prenatal drug exposure can have behavioral effects that last well into adulthood, according to two studies of adult monkeys prenatally exposed to cocaine. In the first study, drug-exposed monkeys exhibited less flexibility than controls in adjusting to changing circumstances; in the second study, drug-exposed males exhibited a greater preference than controls for having rewards right away, a sign of impulsivity.

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Prenatal Nicotine Exposure May Damage Receptors That Influence Auditory Processing

April 2009

Reports on a series of animal experiments indicating that nicotine exposure during prenatal fetal development damages a set of receptors in the brain's auditory processing center.

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Protein Diminishes Cocaine Reward and Cocaine-Related Learning in Animals

February 2016

The protein acid-sensing ion channel 1A (ASIC1A) is naturally present in the brain and reduces laboratory animals' attraction to environments in which they have experienced cocaine's effects.

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Rare Glutamate Receptor Proliferates After Cocaine Withdrawal

December 2009

Reports findings that a rare neuroreceptor may be linked to the intensive cravings cocaine abusers experience during their first weeks of abstinence.

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Rats Reared Alone Show ADHD Signs

December 2009

Describes an animal study showing that rats raised in isolation may prove useful in future studies exploring the neurobiology that links impulsivity and vulnerability to addiction.

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Receptor Complexes Link Dopamine to Long-Term Neuronal Effects

October 2009

Reports on a discovery of previously unrecognized dopamine receptors in the brain that when triggered by drug abuse lead to potentially long-term neuronal effects.

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Regular Marijuana Use Is Associated With Differences in Brain Gray Matter and Connectivity

September 2016

A brain imaging study strongly suggests that regular users of marijuana have smaller orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) volumes. Such a deficit could make it more difficult to change counterproductive behaviors, including drug use.

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Researchers Develop a New Tracer for Cannabinoid Receptor

March 2008

Describes a new chemical tracer that binds specifically to cannabinoid receptors making it potentially useful in future research to clarify the relationship between the receptors and drug abuse.

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Resting Brain Studies Shed New Light on Vulnerabilities

November 2011

Individuals with weak signaling in a nicotine-sensitive brain circuit were more vulnerable to nicotine dependence than those with stronger signaling, according to a study conducted while the subjects’ brains were in a resting state. A second resting-state study finds that the same circuit appears to mediate dependence associated with a genetic risk factor for smoking.

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Scientists Pinpoint Brain's Sweet Tooth

April 2007

Reports on research that successfully traced rats’ liking for sweets to a 1-cubic millimeter site in the medial shell of the nucleus accumbens in the brain.

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