Tag Archives: addiction

Mouse studies offer new insights about cocaine’s effect on the brain

Newly discovered beetle species named after Rockefeller’s Daniel KronauerResearchers have determined how a specific protein regulates the brain’s response to cocaine. Their findings provide fresh insights into the neurobiology of addiction, and could lead to the development of better interventions and treatments.
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Fifty years after landmark methadone discovery, stigmas and misunderstandings persist

Fifty years after landmark methadone discovery, stigmas and misunderstandings persistIn 1966, Rockefeller scientists published a landmark paper that would lead to the first medical treatment for heroin addiction. The drug has helped millions of heroin users around the world, yet its use in the United States remains controversial. More »

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In the News – PBS Frontline – Kreek

The Options and Obstacles to Treating Heroin Addiction   “‘Methadone became stigmatized almost immediately,’ says Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek of Rockefeller University. Kreek was part of the team that originally studied methadone as a potential treatment for opioid addiction in … More »

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Study reveals new mechanism in nicotine addiction

Study reveals new mechanism in nicotine addictionTwo chemical signals, acetylcholine and glutamate, were known to act as part of the negative reward system that fuels craving, but it wasn’t clear how this happened. In new experiments, researchers have learned that one of these neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, regulates the other, glutamate, to reinforce nicotine dependence. More »

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Variations in key genes increases Caucasians’ risk of heroin addiction

By scanning a large swath of the human genome, Rockefeller University researchers identify tiny variations in a few genes that can influence some people’s likelihood of developing heroin dependency. The work, which raises questions about race and personalized medicine, sheds new light on the role of genetics in addictive diseases. More »

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Abuse of painkillers can predispose adolescents to lifelong addiction

No child aspires to a lifetime of addiction. But their brains might. Now, Rockefeller University researchers reveal that adolescent brains exposed to the painkiller Oxycontin can sustain lifelong changes in their reward system that increase the drug’s euphoric properties, and make them more vulnerable to the drug’s effects later in adulthood. More »


Animal study suggests two amino acids may modulate addictive behavior

For some, living without alcohol, cigarettes or even coffee is a daily struggle. Others can give up their vices without ever looking back. From a biological standpoint, the difference may be as slight as a single amino acid, suggests new research from the Rockefeller University laboratories of Mary Jeanne Kreek and Paul Greengard. By tracking individual amino acids in a single protein in mice, and noticing how they change when the mice are given access to cocaine, scientists are beginning to understand how an individual’s underlying genetics can reinforce his addictive behavior. More »

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New genetic sequencing technique reveals possible genetic protection from heroin addiction

New research from the laboratory of Mary Jeanne Kreek at Rockefeller University uses a novel sequencing approach to show that even very tiny differences within genes may help protect someone from heroin addiction, and perhaps addiction disorders in general. More »

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Rockefeller University researchers are changing the face of addiction treatment

People addicted to heroin, alcohol and other drugs of abuse often fail to stay clean because they won’t go to or won’t stay in treatment. Reporting in the January issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Scott Kellogg, Ph.D., and Mary Jeanne Kreek, M.D., at The Rockefeller University, and colleagues at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) and at Johns Hopkins University, show that a treatment approach called contingency management improves patients’ motivation to stay in treatment and increases their therapeutic progress. More »

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New test for drug and alcohol addiction focuses solely on time of heaviest use

A new survey can quickly test for addiction to cocaine, heroin and alcohol simply by asking about the time in the person’s life when he or she was drinking or using these substances the most, according to a study by Rockefeller University researchers. More »

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Nature’s Own Antidote to Cocaine

Some people’s brains may harbor their own built-in defense system against the addictive powers of cocaine. According to new research at The Rockefeller University, a naturally occurring brain opiate called dynorphin may, in certain individuals, serve as an antidote to counter the pleasurable, yet dangerous, effects of cocaine. More »

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Researchers Identify an Enzyme That Regulates the Action of Chronic Cocaine

Scientists have found that an enzyme called Cdk5 regulates the action of chronic cocaine in the brain. In a paper published in the March Nature, members of Paul Greengard’s Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience and colleagues at other institutions identify Cdk5’s role in the long-term changes associated with cocaine addiction. By combining behavioral and biochemical studies, they found that Cdk5 (which stands for cyclin-dependent kinase 5) is a key player in a series of biochemical events that occur in certain brain cells with exposure to chronic cocaine. More »

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Subtle Changes in Brain Receptor Gene May Have Significant Consequences for Addiction

Scientists have identified five slightly different versions of the mu opioid receptor gene that alter the activity of a molecule called b-endorphin, a member of the endorphin family of proteins that can numb pain, create feelings of euphoria or increase energy, which opiates and other drugs of analgesia and addiction do as well. The findings, reported by researchers from The Rockefeller University, Indiana University School of Medicine and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the August 4 Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, show for the first time that these altered molecules are distributed differently among ethnic groups and have implications for normal physiology, therapeutics and vulnerability to develop or protect from diverse diseases involving mu opioid receptors, including the addictive diseases. More »

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Messing With Your Head: Cocaine Found to Affect Endorphin Gene in Brain

The effects of the addictive drug cocaine result, in part, from altering the activity of a gene in the brain, report scientists from The Rockefeller University in the May Molecular Brain Research. More »

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