Cocaine cravings are studied

Jun 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: Synapses remain stable if their components grow in coordination with each other

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hope for treatment of cocaine addiction

Nov 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

Oct 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 ...

Why the craving for cocaine won't go away

Sep 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

Sep 08, 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

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

37 minutes ago

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

47 minutes ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.