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Why Do People Lose Control Over Their Cocaine Use?

September 2016

Researchers monitored the activity of two types of neurons in mice: “urge” neurons, which promote feelings of reward and repeating behaviors that have produced rewards, and “control” neurons, which dampen those feelings and inhibit behavior.

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Quinine as a Tracer for Medication Adherence

September 2016

Patients who don’t take their medications as prescribed often put themselves at risk for problems including misdiagnoses, complications, and death. A study suggests that adding low doses of quinine to patients’ medications could provide an expensive, reliable, and safe method of monitoring whether patients are taking their medications as directed.

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A Case for Studying Brain Asymmetry in Drug Use

September 2016

A new study proposes that research into the discrete roles played by the brain’s two hemispheres could yield important and actionable insights into drug use and addiction. Evidence indicates that two risk factors for substance use, impulsivity and craving, primarily reflect activity in the right and left hemispheres, respectively.

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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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Slow-Release Amphetamine Medication Benefits Patients With Comorbid Cocaine Addiction and ADHD

August 2016

Treatment with an extended-release stimulant medication plus cognitive behavioral therapy was associated with reductions in cocaine use and in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in patients with both disorders.

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Study Questions Role for Marijuana in Teen Users’ IQ Decline

August 2016

In a recent study, teens who used marijuana lost IQ points relative to their nonusing peers. However, the drug appeared not to be the culprit.

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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 2

July 2016

During investigations into using transcranial brain stimulation (TMS) to treat cocaine abuse, two projects take diverging paths. One researcher moves to the next stage, while another is forced to cut his trial short. 

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Study Links Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Reduced Mortality From Opioid Overdose

May 2016

Legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends. However, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.

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Sensation Seeking Promotes Initiation, Impulsivity Promotes Escalation of Substance Use

May 2016

Teens who avidly seek new and intense sensations are more likely to start using substances, but are not more likely to use them regularly within the next 3 years unless they also are prone to devalue distant consequences and act impulsively.

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Dual Regimen Aims To Shorten Medication-Assisted Therapy

May 2016

Treatment that combines use of Bp/Nx and memantine may enable young adults addicted to opioids establish lasting abstinence after a relatively brief course of medication-assisted therapy, a pilot trial suggests.

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