Nora D. Volkow, M.D.

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Nora D. Volkow, M.D.


National Institute of Drug Abuse
National Institutes of Health

Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the effects of drugs in the human brain and has demonstrated that drug addiction is a brain disease. She has documented a decrease in function of the dopamine system in addicted subjects and disruption in function of frontal brain regions involved in motivation and drive. Other areas of Dr. Volkow’s research include the neurochemical mechanisms responsible for variability in response to drugs among individuals; the rewarding and therapeutic effects of drugs; and changes in the dopamine system that occur with aging. She has shown that loss of dopamine brain function with age even in healthy subjects with no neurological dysfunction is associated with motor slowing and changes in cognitive task ability. She is currently focusing on strategies to minimize these losses.

Dr. Volkow was named one of Time magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape our World”, included as “One of the 20 People to Watch” by Newsweek magazine and named “Innovator of the Year” by U.S. News & World Report.