Cocaine cravings are studied

June 15, 2006

U.S. scientists say they have found the brain chemistry that underlies "cue-induced" craving in cocaine addicts.

Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Pennsylvania say their finding suggests new targets for medications aimed at treating addiction.

"Drug craving triggered by cues -- such as the sight, smell, and other sensory stimuli associated with a particular drug like cocaine - is central to addiction and poses an obstacle to successful therapy for many individuals," said NIDA Director Nora Volkow, lead author of the study. "If we can understand the mechanisms related to cue-induced craving, we can develop more effective treatment strategies to counteract it."

Previous research conducted at Brookhaven and elsewhere has shown that all addictive drugs increase the level of dopamine -- a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure -- in a part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens.

Scientists measured dopamine levels in various parts of the brains in 18 cocaine addicts as they watched a "cocaine-cues" video featuring people buying and using cocaine, and as they watched a "neutral" video of natural scenery.

The study is detailed in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Love can last: Brain activity of those in love long term similar to those newly in love

Related Stories

Hope for treatment of cocaine addiction

November 17, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two separate discoveries by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) offer potential for development of a first-ever pharmacological treatment for cocaine addiction.

Love takes up where pain leaves off, brain study shows

October 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Intense, passionate feelings of love can provide amazingly effective pain relief, similar to painkillers or such illicit drugs as cocaine, according to a new Stanford University School of Medicine study.

Why the craving for cocaine won't go away

September 16, 2010

People who have used cocaine run a great risk of becoming addicted, even after long drug-free periods. Now researchers at Linköping University and their colleagues can point to a specific molecule in the brain as a possible ...

Brain mechanism linked to relapse after cocaine withdrawal

September 8, 2010

Addictive drugs are known to induce changes in the brain's reward circuits that may underlie drug craving and relapse after long periods of abstinence. Now, new research, published by Cell Press in the September 9 issue of ...

Recommended for you

Image: Hubble sees a youthful cluster

August 31, 2015

Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large Magellanic ...

Antibody-making bacteria promise drug development

August 31, 2015

Monoclonal antibodies, proteins that bind to and destroy foreign invaders in our bodies, routinely are used as therapeutic agents to fight a wide range of maladies including breast cancer, leukemia, asthma, arthritis, psoriasis, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.