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Saint Helena Virtual Forum


An Interview with Dr. Nora Volkow
Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Dr. Nora Volcow will discuss the breakthrough study sponsored by the NIH that has revealed shared genetic markers that underlie substance use disorders. These new findings offer a path to more effective prevention and treatment strategies for multiple substance use disorders.

Nora was born in Mexico City, the daughter of a fashion designer and a pharmaceutical chemist. Her father, the chemist, had come to Mexico as a boy with his grandfather Leon Trotsky, the Bolshevik leader expelled from the Soviet Union by Stalin. She lived in Mexico City until she completed medical school and while training as a psychiatrist in New York City, she started doing research with brain imaging technologies to study how drugs affect the human brain.

Dr. Volkow's work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a brain disorder. As a research psychiatrist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate how substance use affects brain functions. In particular, her studies have documented how changes in the dopamine system affect the functions of brain regions involved with reward and self-control in addiction.

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