“I do not take no for an answer. And this is a message that I say to young people: ‘You should dare to do things. And no one has the right to say you cannot bring a new perspective into things.’ And so I always say, ‘Be daring and persevere.'”— Dr. Nora Volkow
Nora D. Volkow, MD, is Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health. NIDA is the world’s largest funder of scientific research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. 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. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and aging.
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Want to hear another episode with someone on the front lines of drug research? Listen to my conversation with Dr. Suresh Muthukumaraswamy, in which we discuss the durability of antidepressant effects from certain psychedelic therapies, improving the impact of scientific research, the obstacles to getting ketamine labeled as an antidepressant, the difficulty of applying placebo controls to psychedelic research, the training of clinical personnel in new science as it becomes available, avoiding another 50 years of psychedelic research darkness, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Follow the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- Addiction: A Disease of Free Will by Dr. Nora Volkow | APA 2015
- Leon Trotsky Was My Grandfather: An Interview With Esteban Volkov | Jacobin
- The Trotsky Assassination | History
- Bloodstained Ice Axe Used to Kill Trotsky Emerges After Decades in the Shadows | The Guardian
- A Theory on the Nature of Physiologic Opiate Dependence: A Formal Statement | NIDA Research Monograph
- Understanding Quantitative Analysis in Chemistry | ThoughtCo.
- Revolutionary Thinker | The Washington Post
- The University Health Science Center at Houston
- Cerebral Blood Flow in Chronic Cocaine Users: A Study with Positron Emission Tomography | The British Journal of Psychiatry
- The Scientist Battling the Addiction Crisis | Nature
- Demerol (Meperidine Hydrochloride, USP) | FDA
- Why Fentanyl is a Drug Dealer’s Dream — But a Family’s Nightmare | Narconon
- Why Xylazine, the Veterinary Drug That Federal Officials Call an “Emerging Threat,” Doesn’t Respond to Naloxone | CBS News
- America’s War on Drugs — 50 Years Later | The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- The Drug War’s Deepest Failure: Making Users the Enemy | Mother Jones
- Undoing Drugs: How Harm Reduction Is Changing the Future of Drugs and Addiction by Maia Szalavitz | Amazon
- Dr. Nora D. Volkow: A General in the Drug War | The New York Times
- Psychedelic and Dissociative Drugs | NIDA
- Psychedelics May Lessen Fear of Death and Dying, Similar to Feelings Reported by Those Who’ve Had Near Death Experiences | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Why Psychedelic Drugs May Become a Key Treatment for PTSD and Depression | Smithsonian Magazine
- NIH-Funded Psychedelic Trial Will Study Whether Hallucinogen Can Help Smokers Quit | NBC News
- Study Design 101 | Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
- Funding Cutting-Edge Scientific Research | Saisei Foundation
- Erik Vance — The Magic and Power of Placebo | The Tim Ferriss Show #194
- The Problem at the Heart of Modern Psychedelic Clinical Research | New Atlas
- Dr. Suresh Muthukumaraswamy — LSD Microdosing, Classical Psychedelics vs. Ketamine, Science and Speed in New Zealand, Placebo Options, and The Infinite Possibilities of Studying Mind-Altering Compounds | The Tim Ferriss Show #619
- Increased Global Integration in the Brain after Psilocybin Therapy for Depression | Nature Medicine
- No Hallucinations? LSD Relatives Appear to Treat Depression in Mice without Obvious Side Effects | Science
- Psychoplastogens: A Promising Class of Plasticity-Promoting Neurotherapeutics | Journal of Experimental Neuroscience
- Psilocybin Mushrooms Found to Help People with Alcohol Use Disorder | NBC News
- Psilocybin Therapy Sharply Reduces Excessive Drinking, Small Study Shows | The New York Times
- How Magic Mushrooms Can Help Smokers Kick the Habit | Short Wave
- Neurocircuitry of Addiction | Neuropsychopharmacology
- Dr. Gül Dölen on Rethinking Psychedelics, New Applications (Autism, Stroke, and Allergies), The Neurobiology of Beginner’s Mind, Octopuses on MDMA, and The Master Key of Metaplasticity | The Tim Ferriss Show #667
- Dr. John Krystal — All Things Ketamine, The Most Comprehensive Podcast Episode Ever | The Tim Ferriss Show #625
- How Does Ketamine Work Differently from Other Psychedelics? | Psychology Today
- Intranasal Salvinorin A Improves Neurological Outcome in Rhesus Monkey Ischemic Stroke Model Using Autologous Blood Clot | Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Review of Its Evolution and Current Applications | Industrial Psychiatry Journal
- Deep Brain Stimulation | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Ultrasound as a Neurotherapeutic: A Circuit- and System-Based Interrogation | Focus
- Low-Intensity Continuous Ultrasound Therapies — A Systematic Review of Current State-of-the-Art and Future Perspectives | Journal of Clinical Medicine
- Focused Ultrasound for Parkinson’s Disease | The Michael J. Fox Foundation
- An Investigation of Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Addiction | NIH Reporter
- Is It Too Soon To Start Talking about a Cure for Addiction? | Nora’s Blog at NIDA
- Why Is There Comorbidity between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illnesses? | NIDA
- Suicide Deaths Are a Major Component of the Opioid Crisis that Must Be Addressed | NIDA Archives
- [06:09] Cadaver homework.
- [09:07] The Trotsky connection.
- [17:07] How Nora’s father viewed the role of science.
- [20:59] Julian Villarreal.
- [27:38] A perspective of perseverance.
- [33:48] Instilling perseverance in younger scientists.
- [35:08] Dancing with Demerol.
- [40:05] The current state of addiction in the US.
- [44:28] The War on Drugs.
- [49:42] Increasing societal confidence in therapeutic psychedelics.
- [55:38] Advice for researchers seeking more federal funding.
- [1:02:12] Gauging the value of the hallucinogenic experience.
- [1:06:04] Implications for multiple applications of one compound.
- [1:13:36] Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and a promising alternative.
- [1:19:49] New hope for Parkinson’s disease sufferers?
- [1:23:51] Comorbidities, addiction considerations, and other parting thoughts.
MORE DR. NORA VOLKOW QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“Science should be guided by data, but science has a religious nature to it also. And once a model is created, it becomes very difficult to change it. And it takes a long, long time for concepts that have been consolidated, as accepted as the truth, to be questioned.”
— Dr. Nora Volkow
“I do not take no for an answer. And this is a message that I say to young people: ‘You should dare to do things. And no one has the right to say you cannot bring a new perspective into things.’ And so, I always say, ‘Be daring and persevere.'”
— Dr. Nora Volkow
“In terms of the war on drugs, I think that basically what it did was it created a mechanism that could perpetuate structural racism. It is very tragic to see how its enforcement led to the incarceration of young black Americans.”
— Dr. Nora Volkow
- Esteban Volkov
- Leon Trotsky
- Francisco Franco
- Joseph Stalin
- Ramón Mercader
- Natalia Sedova
- Julian Villarreal
- Ruy Pérez Tamayo
- Richard M. Nixon
- John Ehrlichman
- Matthew W. Johnson
- Robin Carhart-Harris
- Michael Bogenschutz
- Peter Hendricks
- Gül Dölen
- John Krystal
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