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NIDA Notes Articles: Basic Science

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Optical Technologies Expand Vistas Into the Brain

September 2008

Describes new tools under development, including one to visualize cells deep in the brain and another one that remotely activates brain cells.

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New Technique Links 89 Genes to Drug Dependence

September 2008

Presents research findings linking 89 genes to drug abuse and dependence, found using genome-wide association studies, a new technique for identifying genes.

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Mice With Genetic Alteration Eschew Cocaine

June 2008

Reports on a study involving researchers who successfully desensitized mice to cocaine by genetically altering their dopamine transporters.

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Morphine-Induced Immunosuppression, From Brain to Spleen

June 2008

Reports on scientists who pinpointed the biochemical trigger from morphine that sets off a chain reaction that inhibits an immune cell that is key in fighting viruses and cancer.

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Methamphetamine Restricts Fetal Growth, Increases Lethargy in Newborns

June 2008

Reports on research showing that newborns whose mothers abused methamphetamine during pregnancy showed lower rates of fetal growth as compared with unexposed newborns.

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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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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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Not All Mesolimbic Dopamine Neurons Are Alike

March 2008

Reports on research showing that the neurons that deliver dopamine to two regions of the brain's mesolimbic reward system respond differently to opioids, an important finding for drug treatment research.

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Long-Term Cocaine Abuse Linked With Impaired Heart Function

March 2008

Summarizes research on the effects of long-term regular cocaine abuse on the cardiovascular system in African Americans.

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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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