April 2012
Exercise also decreases neural change linked with drug seeking during abstinence.

Two independent animal studies suggest that aerobic exercise might help cocaine abusers establish and maintain abstinence.

March 2012

In an innovative NIDA-funded study, published in Cell, scientists introduced a modified dopamine receptor gene into the brain of a living vinegar fly

March 2012
Findings appear to pinpoint a source of individual differences in smoking rates.

New research suggests that differences in tobacco consumption reflect, in part, differences in the functional efficacy of a specific type of receptor in a pathway of the brain. In animal studies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with the α5 subunit played a key role in producing aversive responses to nicotine, thereby dissuading further consumption of the drug.

December 2011

New results extend previous findings that some methamphetamine-induced neuronal damage resolves after a year of abstinence.

November 2011
Some microRNAs promote vulnerability to addiction; others protect against it.

New studies show that microRNAs, snippets of RNA implicated in a wide variety of biological processes, are involved in promoting and inhibiting cocaine addiction. The findings could pave a new path for the development of anti-addiction therapies.

November 2011
Brain circuits that remain active when individuals are resting provide clues to what goes awry in addiction and other mental disorders.

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.

November 2011
Interference with the birth of brain cells may also raise drug-relapse vulnerability.

Drug abuse may diminish production of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus and thereby increase vulnerability to drug addiction.

November 2011
Some epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to drug relapse.

In a new series of studies tracing the molecular events that occur in the brain as memories are formed and preserved, researchers find that certain epigenetic changes may promote vulnerability to relapse.

July 2011
Orexin receptor-blocking medications might treat both cocaine abuse and unhealthy eating.

Reports on several studies implicating a certain neuropeptide (a signaling molecule) in fostering addition and overeating and discusses implications for addiction treatment.

July 2011
Genetic variants affect boys and girls differently.

Describes research showing that the combination of prenatal smoking exposure and specific genes increases children’s and adolescent’s risk for behavior problems.