PET and functional MRI have helped researchers understand brain functions and how drugs such as cocaine interact with the brain. PET has shown that cocaine interferes with normal dopamine transporter activity, findings that have fueled development of a vaccine to help treat addiction to the drug. Imaging with 11C-PE2I measured cocaine levels in the dopamine transporters in animal subjects before and after vaccination, showing its efficacy and suggesting imaging is a useful way of measuring the vaccine's effect. Using functional MRI, researchers have found that methylphenidate, an attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug, also shows potential in treating cocaine addiction.
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