Adolescence is marked by acute biological changes such as sexual maturation, height and weight gain, and further development in brain structure and organization. These amazing and rapid changes occur during a time of social pressures when many young adults are simultaneously trying to adapt to changing bodies and fit in with their peers.
How can we assess the risks of addiction in this situation? What are the long-term consequences for addicts at such young ages? This is the subject of the next Demystifying medicine.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is also a principal investigator for the NIH Intramural Research Program. Her research has helped to prove that drug addiction is a brain disorder. She pioneered brain imaging for investigating how substance abuse affects brain function. Her research also contributed to neurobiology of obesity, ADHD and aging.
Brenda Curtis, a principal investigator at NIDA Translational Addiction Medicine Branch is Brenda Curtis. Her research is translational. She uses big data and social media to develop, evaluate, and implement technology-based tools that address substance abuse and related conditions like HIV/AIDS. She is also working hard to understand how stigma can play a crucial role in the perpetuation and development of health inequalities and addictions.