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Neuroscience Education Program Encourages Learning at All Ages

Bulletin Board, Published July 2012

Eight scientists have received National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to develop K-12 education programs that will engage young people in learning about the brain, inspire some to pursue careers in biomedical science, and increase teacher knowledge of neuroscience. The 5-year grants are funded by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Science Education.

Dr. David Jentsch Receives the 2011 Waletzky Memorial Award

Bulletin Board, Published July 2012

Dr. J. David Jentsch is the recipient of the 2011 Jacob P. Waletzky Memorial Award for Innovative Research in Drug Addiction and Alcoholism. Dr. Jentsch and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, are studying genetic and neurochemical factors that influence individual differences in inhibitory control.

Elevated Rates of Drug Abuse Continue for Second Year

Public Health, Published June 2012

Illicit drug use in the United States in 2010 was at its highest level since 2002, according to the most recent report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A rise in marijuana use drove the increase. A favorable trend of falling cocaine use continued.

Investigators Map Functional Networks in the Rat Brain

Basic Science, Published June 2012

Researchers have mapped the fundamental functional organization of the rat brain and shown that it resembles that of the human brain.

Home Visits by Nurses to Low-Income First-Time Mothers Yield Enduring Benefits

Prevention, Published April 2012
Savings on welfare-related outlays offset the cost of a program that improved children

A program involving home visits by nurses to low-income first-time mothers, starting during pregnancy and extending into the second year of their children’s lives, has a positive and long-lasting impact on families. Children who participated in the program were less likely than others to report having used alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana at age 12.

Physical Activity Reduces Return to Cocaine Seeking in Animal Tests

Basic Science, Published 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.

Well-Known Mechanism Underlies Benzodiazepines' Addictive Properties

Basic Science, Published April 2012
Like opioids and cannabinoids, diazepam and other benzodiazepines take the brakes off activity of dopamine-producing neurons.

New research establishes that benzodiazepines cause addiction in a way similar to that of opioids, cannabinoids, and the club drug GHB. The discovery opens the door to designing new benzodiazepines that counteract anxiety but are not addictive.

Cognitive Strategy Reduces Craving by Altering Brain Activity

Basic Science, Published April 2012
Brain imaging reveals changes when smokers focus on long-term consequences of their tobacco use.

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.

Women and Sex/Gender Differences Research Program

NIDA @ Work, Published April 2012

NIDA’s Women and Sex/Gender Differences Research Program focuses on gender-specific addiction risk factors and treatment needs.

High Rates of Job Leaving Among Addiction Counselors

Treatment, Published April 2012

Substance abuse counselors and clinical supervisors disclosed high job turnover rates in a survey of 27 treatment organizations.

Desire to Smoke Subsides, But Cigarette Cues Retain Power

Prevention, Published April 2012

During early abstinence, smokers’ cravings triggered by cigarette cues intensified over time, providing evidence that people can experience a phenomenon previously observed in experiments with animals

Alleviation of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder May Improve Addiction Treatment

Treatment, Published April 2012

Women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who abused drugs responded better to substance abuse treatment after their PTSD symptoms improved, according to a recent study, which also found that reductions in substance abuse did not ease PTSD severity

Research Focuses on Groups With High Smoking Rates

Director's Perspective, Published April 2012

Dr. Volkow discusses NIDA’s efforts to develop effective antismoking treatments for populations with persistently high rates of smoking, such as people with psychiatric disorders, high school dropouts, and Native Americans.

Tobacco Smokers Have High Probability of Transition to Dependence

Public Health, Published April 2012

First-time smokers have a much higher chance of eventually becoming dependent than first-time users alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine.

Vouchers Improve Mothers’ Smoking Abstinence and Newborns’ Weight

Prevention, Published April 2012

Pregnant women who received financial incentives to refrain from smoking during late pregnancy were more successful at remaining abstinent and less likely to have babies with low birth weight, according to data from three trials.

Antiretroviral Treatment Reduces Spread of HIV Among Injection Drug Users

Treatment, Published April 2012

Expanded use of antiretroviral therapy in British Columbia reduced the spread of HIV among injection drug users and others in the province.

New Method Uncovers How Internal States Influence the Living Brain to Change Behavior

Basic Science, Published 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

Nicotine Dependence Linked to Higher Rates of Mental Disorders Among Teens

Public Health, Published March 2012

A study of teenagers in Chicago public schools finds higher rates of psychiatric disorders among those with more symptoms of nicotine dependence.

Peers Increase Teen Driving Risk via Heightened Reward Activity

Prevention, Published March 2012

Adolescent, but not adult, drivers are more likely to take risks when peers are watching, a new study suggests.

In Animals, Receptor Puts Brakes on Nicotine Consumption

Basic Science, Published 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.

NIDA Announces Avant-Garde Medication Development Awards

Bulletin Board, Published March 2012

Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut are the recipients of NIDA’s 2011 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. Dr. Kosten is developing a vaccine against methamphetamine abuse and Dr. Burkhard is developing a vaccine to counter nicotine addiction.

Stimulant Abusers' Regard for Future Improves With Memory Training

Treatment, Published December 2011
Exercises to strengthen working memory may have a place in treatment.

Researchers correlate stimulant abusers’ improved performance on a memory training exerc ise with reductions in delay discounting.

Individual Differences in Decisionmaking Style May Predict Teen Problems

Prevention, Published December 2011
Delay-discounting test has clinical potential.

Reports on the relative influence of genes versus environment on adolescents’ choices that involve delayed gratification.

Program Helps Troubled Boys Reduce Substance Abuse

Prevention, Published December 2011

Chronically delinquent boys in Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care reduced their substance abuse more than boys assigned to Community Group Care.

Marker for Neuronal Damage Resolves a Year after Methamphetamine

Basic Science, Published December 2011

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

Financial Strain Hinders Smoking Cessation

Treatment, Published December 2011

Helping smokers deal with financial problems could improve their chances of staying abstinent after receiving treatment, according to a new study. Participants with the most financial strain had the least success in remaining abstinent.

Substance Abuse Among Older Adults

Director's Perspective, Published December 2011

Understanding and responding to drug abuse among America’s aging population becomes more urgent as a growing percentage of baby boomers enter the over-50 age bracket.

Good-Bye, Paper

Bulletin Board, Published November 2011
NIDA Notes Is Going All-Web

NIDA Notes becomes an All-Web publication in 2012. Issue 2 of Volume 24 will be the last print issue.

Girls More Likely Than Boys to Use Ecstasy

Public Health, Published November 2011

Lifetime ecstasy use is more prevalent among adolescent girls than among adolescent boys, according to an analysis of 2002–2008 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

NIDA Recognizes Developer of a New Business Model for Science

Bulletin Board, Published November 2011

Dr. Redonna K. Chandler of NIDA receives the Institute's 2011 Innovator Award for developing a method that fosters collaboration and data sharing on various studies of HIV in criminal justice populations.

NIDA's Drug Abuse Research Advances Science as a Whole

Director's Perspective, Published November 2011

NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow summarizes instances where discoveries with broad implications for human health arose from scientists seeking answers to addiction problems.

New Class of Regulators for Addiction Genes

Basic Science, Published 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.

Molecular Alterations of DNA Contribute to Persistence of Memory

Basic Science, Published 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.

Disruption of Neuron Production in Adult Rats Increases Cocaine Taking

Basic Science, Published 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.

Nanotechnology Powers Smart Skin Patch

Treatment, Published November 2011
Programmable device will feature adjustable dosing for personalized therapy.

An in vitro test demonstrates the potential of a programmable skin patch that will enable physicians to tailor transdermal medication doses to match patients' fluctuating needs.

Resting Brain Studies Shed New Light on Vulnerabilities

Basic Science, Published 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.

High Rates of Illegal Drug Use Among Alcohol-Dependent Adults

Public Health, Published July 2011

Highlights data on the prevalence of rates of illegal drug use and nonmedical use of prescription drugs among adults dependant on alcohol, as compared with the general population.

Computer-Based Intervention Offers Good Value for Money

Treatment, Published July 2011

Reports on researchers who demonstrated the economic value of a computer-based treatment as an adjunct to standard addiction therapy.

Medication Reduces Rats' Return to Methamphetamine Seeking

Treatment, Published July 2011

Reports on a new medication strategy under investigated in animal studies that shows promise for preventing relapse to drug abuse.

Week-Long Events Teach Teens Drug Abuse Facts

Bulletin Board, Published July 2011

Highlights activities from the 2011 National Drug Facts Week in which communities sponsor events to educate teenagers about drugs and drug abuse.

NIDA Cosponsors Mentoring Service for Clinicians Advising Substance-Abusing Patients

Bulletin Board, Published July 2011

Highlights a free service that provides primary care clinicians with advice from experts in addiction medicine on addressing substance abuse with patients in the primary care setting.

Grantee Wins Early Career Award

Bulletin Board, Published July 2011

Announces the 2010 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers to Dr. Mauricio R. Delgado for his work with functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how the human brain learns from experiences.

Methamphetamine Abuse Undermines Dental Health

Treatment, Published July 2011

Describes research that sheds light on the correlation between increased dental disease and methamphetamine abuse.

Drugs Contribute to High Rates of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Juvenile Offenders

Prevention, Published July 2011

Describe a study of newly arrested youths where researchers found correlations between the youths' prevalence of these sexually transmitted diseases and their cocaine and marijuana use.

Treatment Dropout Linked With Elevated Stress Response

Treatment, Published July 2011

Summarizes a study to determine whether a stress-related biological marker in saliva can predict how long a drug user will remain in treatment.

Office Meets Dynamic Challenges of Diversity

NIDA @ Work, Published July 2011

Describes NIDA’s Special Populations Office which promotes addiction science that examines health disparities and foster research careers among members of underrepresented communities.

NIDA's Funding Priorities To Remain Constant

Director's Perspective, Published July 2011

Reports on NIDA’s research priorities—drug abuse and addiction prevention, treatment, and HIV/AIDS—which will remain consistent during these challenging budget times.

Intensive Interventions Reduce Risky Sexual Behaviors

Prevention, Published July 2011
Gender-specific programs designed to teach safe-sex behaviors that prevent spread of HIV prove effective among drug abuse treatment patients.

Discusses research that compares multiple sessions of motivational and behavioral training with that of a single intervention among male and female substance abusers to reduce high-risk sexual behaviors.

Prison Use of Medications for Opioid Addiction Remains Low

Treatment, Published July 2011
More opioid replacement therapy in correctional facilities might yield public safety and health benefits.

Describes results from a nationwide survey among correctional facilities on the use of opioid replacement therapy for people who are addicted to heroin.

Gene Influences Impact of Maternal Smoking on Children's Behavioral Problems

Basic Science, Published 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.

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