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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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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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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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Peer Interaction Enhances Adolescent Rats' Drug Reward

April 2010
Describes an animal study reporting that peer interaction enhances adolescent rats’ drug reward and discusses the impact of these findings to future research on drug reward in social context.

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Methamphetamine Abusers Show Increased Distractibility

April 2009
Highlights findings from a study of former methamphetamine abusers showing evidence of impairment in areas of the brain known to influence cognition, emotion, and decision making.

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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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Cocaine Locks Rats Into Unrewarding Behaviors

April 2009
Describes research with rats to better understand cocaine’s effect on the neural signaling in the learning circuits of the brain.

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Low Dopamine Receptor Availability May Promote Cocaine Addiction

April 2009
Describes findings from an animal study showing that cocaine lowers availability of dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that includes portions of the reward system.

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Cocaine Can Mobilize Stored Dopamine

March 2008
Describes a study showing that cocaine, which increases dopamine levels, also can tap into an intracellular dopamine reserve pool.

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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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Chromosome 17 Harbors Opioid Dependence Genes

March 2008
Describes the work of researchers who have found a statistical link between one region on chromosome 17 and an increased risk of opioid dependence.

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