Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that is responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. Very few neurons actually make dopamine. Some, in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, are the cells that die during Parkinson’s disease. The functions of others, located in a part of the brain called the ventral tegmental area (VTA), are less well defined and are the major source of the aforementioned controversy (and the focus of this post). When dopamine neurons become activated, they release dopamine. One of the best described roles for VTA dopamine neurons is in learning about rewards. VTA dopamine neurons become activated when something good happens unexpectedly, such as the sudden availability of food. Most abused drugs cause the release of dopamine and this is thought to contribute to their addictive properties.
Related journals to dopamine:
Epidemiology: Open Access, Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy, Journal of Psychiatry, International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology, Dopamine Receptors and Parkinson's Disease, Journal of Dopamine and antipsychotic drug action, Journal of Plant Biochemistry & Physiology.