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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.

Neuropeptide Promotes Behaviors Tied to Addiction and Overeating

Basic Science, Published 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.

Two NIDA Grantees Receive Sarnat Prize

Bulletin Board, Published March 2011

Announces the recipients of the 2010 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health, Dr. Eric J. Nestler and Dr. Charles P. O'Brien, prominent addiction scientists.

Dr. Paul Kenny Receives the 2010 Waletzky Memorial Award

Bulletin Board, Published March 2011

Announces the recipient of a 2010 award for innovation in research on drug addiction and alcoholism and describes his work on increasing our understanding of the molecular foundation of addiction.

Fewer Girls Are Smoking, But Change Is Uneven

Public Health, Published March 2011

Reports 2010 rates of cigarette smoking among eighth girls, providing historical data and racial and ethnic differences.

Teenage Marijuana Use Is on the Rise

Public Health, Published March 2011

Reports 2010 rates of marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students, noting that daily use increased by more than 10 percent in all three grades since the 2009 survey. Also reports a rise in ecstasy use.

Brain Responds to Marijuana Cues in Familiar Manner

Treatment, Published March 2011

Researchers found that the brain activity that takes place when cues trigger marijuana cravings is similar to the activity that accompanies cravings for other drugs.

Menthol May Strengthen Nicotine Addiction

Public Health, Published March 2011

Reports on a study of Latino and African-American smokers of menthol cigarettes who did not benefit as much from a month-long smoking cessation program as smokers of non-menthol cigarettes.

Prevention Program Reduces Later Risky Sexual Behaviors

Prevention, Published March 2011

Reports on a school-based drug abuse prevention program showing that teens who participate in the program are less likely than their peers to engage in risky sexual behavior as young adults.

Physical Activity May Prevent Substance Abuse

Director's Perspective, Published March 2011

Considers the potential role of physical activity on substance abuse prevention and describes some of the research that has been conducted on this emerging area of addiction science.

Cocaine Alters Production of Hundreds of Proteins

Basic Science, Published March 2011
Affected proteins include enzymes that influence DNA repair, cell death, stress resistance, metabolism, and aging.

Describes research findings that show that chronic cocaine abuse may change the production of many proteins in the neurons of the brain’s reward system, aiding in our understanding how the drug causes addiction.

Combination Therapy Most Effective for Helping Smokers Quit

Treatment, Published March 2011
Treatment with a nicotine patch and lozenge outperformed four other smoking-cessation therapies in a large clinical trial.

Examines results from a randomized clinical trial which found that treatment with a nicotine patch and nicotine lozenge together produced the greatest benefits in helping people quit smoking and remain abstinent.

HIV Treatment Interruption Is Pervasive After Release From Texas Prisons

Treatment, Published March 2011
Helping inmates fill out application forms for antiretroviral medication doubles prescription utilization.

Describes a study revealing that HIV-infected prisoners in Texas often experience an interruption in treatment following their release and that assistance in filling out paperwork can reduce these interruptions.