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NIDA Notes Articles: Brain

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A Family-Oriented Intervention May Reduce the Effects of Poverty on Brain Development

January 2018
The parenting-focused Strong African American Families program can ameliorate poverty’s negative effects on limbic brain development.  

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A New Tool for Investigating HIV in the Brain

August 2018
Researchers developed a tool that enables them to closely monitor HIV activity in key brain cells. The tool may accelerate the development of treatments for HIV in the brain.

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Adolescent Marijuana Use Is Linked to Altered Neural Circuitry and Mood Symptoms

August 2018
Some teens' marijuana use has been linked to disrupted communication between two key regions in the brain’s reward circuitry at age 20. Disrupted communication between the regions was associated with poorer psychosocial functioning at age 22.

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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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Cognitive Strategy Reduces Craving by Altering Brain Activity

April 2012
While viewing images of cigarettes, smokers reported milder cravings when they shifted their focus from the pleasures of smoking to its harmful effects. Brain imaging showed a correlation between the reductions in craving and altered activity levels in regions associated with emotional regulation and reward.

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Deep Brain Stimulation Attenuates Rats’ Responses to Heroin

October 2017
High-frequency electrical stimulation of neurons deep in the brain can reduce rats’ relapse-like behavior and motivation to take heroin. The finding strengthens hope that deep brain stimulation might offer a new treatment alternative for opioid addiction, particularly for patients who have not benefited from other treatments.

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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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Methamphetamine Alters Brain Structures, Impairs Mental Flexibility

March 2014
Methamphetamine alters brain structures involved in decision-making and impairs the ability to suppress habitual behaviors that have become useless or counterproductive. The two effects were correlated, indicating that the structural change underlies the decline in mental flexibility.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction?

September 2015
Two researchers share their reasons for researching transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating cocaine addiction, and describe challenges to moving forward this potentially promising therapy.

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Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Stops Compulsive Drug Seeking in Rats

January 2014
Researchers have shut down laboratory rats’ compulsive cocaine seeking by stimulating an area of the animals’ prefrontal cortex. The finding raises the possibility that stimulating neurons in this brain area may weaken or break cocaine’s grip on the behavior of people who are addicted to the drug.

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