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A Brain Region for Resisting Alcohol’s Allure

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University of Utah neuroscientists report that when a region of the brain called the lateral habenula is chronically inactivated in rats, they repeatedly drink to excess and are less able to learn from the experience. The study, published online in PLOS ONE on April 2, has implications for understanding behaviors that drive alcohol addiction.

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Penn Medicine Points to New Ways to Prevent Relapse in Cocaine-Addicted Patients

Relapse is the most painful and expensive feature of drug addiction—even after addicted individuals have been drug-free for months or years, the likelihood of sliding back into the habit remains high. Though some relapse triggers can be consciously avoided, such as people, places and things related to drug use, other subconscious triggers related to the brain’s reward system may be impossible to avoid— they can gain entry to the unconscious brain, setting the stage for relapse. Researchers at Penn Medicine’s Center for Studies of Addiction have now found that the drug baclofen, commonly used to prevent spasms in patients with spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders, can help block the impact of the brain’s response to “unconscious” drug triggers well before conscious craving occurs. They suggest that this mechanism has the potential to prevent cocaine relapse. The new findings are reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Addicts Who Live in the Moment May Get Most Benefit From Certain Kinds of Treatment

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A simple cognitive test may be able to predict how well an individual struggling with addiction will respond to certain treatments, according to a study led by an addiction expert at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.

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Parental Addictions Associated with Adult Children’s Arthritis

The adult offspring of parents who were addicted to drugs or alcohol are more likely to have arthritis, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers. Investigators examined a group of 13,036 adults and found that 20.4 per cent of respondents had been diagnosed with arthritis by a medical professional.

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Brain Differences in College-Aged Occasional Drug Users

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered impaired neuronal activity in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning among occasional 18- to 24-year-old users of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall.

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Can 'Love Hormone' Protect Against Addiction?

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Addictive behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early childhood, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide.

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Major ‘Third-Hand Smoke’ Compound Causes DNA Damage — and Potentially Cancer

Leftover cigarette smoke that clings to walls and furniture is a smelly nuisance, but now research suggests that it could pose a far more serious threat, especially to young children who put toys and other smoke-affected items into their mouths. Scientists reported today at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that one of the tobacco-specific nitrosamines newly formed in “third-hand smoke” damages DNA and could potentially cause cancer.

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E-Cigarettes: Gateway to Nicotine Addiction for U.S. Teens

E-cigarettes, promoted as a way to quit regular cigarettes, may actually be a new route to conventional smoking and nicotine addiction for teenagers, according to a new UC San Francisco study.

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Zohydro Will Create New Addicts, UB Addiction Medicine Expert Says

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Twitter 'Big Data' Can Be Used to Monitor HIV and Drug-Related Behavior

Real-time social media like Twitter could be used to track HIV incidence and drug-related behaviors with the aim of detecting and potentially preventing outbreaks

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