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Medical News & Perspectives
November 26, 2003

Nora Volkow, MD

JAMA. 2003;290(20):2647-2652. doi:10.1001/jama.290.20.2647

A funny thing happened to Nora Volkow, MD, the new director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), when she first applied for a grant from the agency: she was rejected.

In 1984, she was finishing her residency in psychiatry at New York University, where she had pioneered brain imaging studies of drug users. "I started to find out cocaine abusers had vascular pathology, sort of small vascular accidents," said Volkow, now 47. "NIDA came back to me and said, ‘there's no evidence that cocaine is toxic.'"

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