Influencing craving for cigarettes by stimulating the brain
Targeted brain stimulation increases cigarette cravings, a new study in Biological Psychiatry has found, which may ultimately lead to new treatments that reverse these effects. Cues associated with cigarette smoking, such as watching someone else smoke, elicit craving and may provoke relapse when smokers are attempting to quit. There are many methods that smokers use in an attempt to reduce their craving for cigarettes, including efficacious pharmacologic treatments such as nicotine patches, and alternative approaches such as hypnosis and acupuncture. Scientists have long suspected that these diverse approaches might work through a common mechanism -- the reduction of activity in a brain circuit that is responsible for cigarette craving.
This hypothesis is supported by human functional brain imaging studies, which consistently report the activation of several brain regions during craving that involve regions in the cerebral cortex as well as the limbic system, a brain circuit involved in emotion.
Building on these brain imaging studies, scientists at the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University Medical Center manipulated this 'craving circuit' activity using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive technique that uses electromagnetic currents to target specific or general areas of the brain. Depending upon the frequency used, it can either stimulate or depress brain activity.
The researchers found that the delivery of repeated TMS to the superior frontal gyrus at high frequency (10 Hz) increased craving for cigarettes.
"We directly stimulated a frontal brain region using magnetic fields and showed that it exaggerated smokers' craving for cigarettes when they viewed smoking related cues. By gaining a better understanding of how the brain influences craving responses, strategies for blocking these responses can be devised and ultimately more effective smoking cessation treatments may be developed," explained Dr. Jed Rose, one of the study authors.
However, they did not find that low frequency (1 Hz) stimulation reduced craving. Thus, a potential intervention that may have reduced the activation within this circuit did not produce the opposite effect.
Nonetheless, the high frequency stimulation reduced craving when participants were viewing nonsmoking cues. Moreover, the ability of smoking to satisfy craving, a rewarding effect that helps keep smokers "hooked," was partially blocked by high frequency stimulation. These effects need to be explored for potential therapeutic applications.
"This elegant study implicates the superior frontal gyrus in controlling the activity of the craving circuit," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Additional research will be needed to determine the potential value of repetitive TMS as a treatment for smoking."
More information: "Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Superior Frontal Gyrus Modulates Craving for Cigarettes" (DOI 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.05.031)
Provided by Elsevier
- Brain imaging studies examine how anti-smoking medications may curb cravings Jan 03, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- New neuroimaging study identifies 'brain signature' for cigarette cravings Dec 18, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Smoking mind over smoking matter Jul 13, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- New findings shed light on why smokers struggle to quit Jan 05, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Nicotine vaccine under development Jun 26, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
16 hours ago As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A new study shows there is a gender gap when it comes to behavior and self-control in American young children – one that does not appear to exist in children in Asia.
Psychology & Psychiatry 6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
Psychology & Psychiatry 7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
What effect does a father's depression have on his young son or daughter? When fathers report a high level of emotional intimacy in their marriage, their children benefit, said a University of Illinois study.
Psychology & Psychiatry 7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Preschoolers universally recognize that one's choices are not always free – that our decisions may be constrained by social obligations to be nice to others or follow rules set by parents ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Do ethicists engage in better moral behavior than other professors? The answer is no. Nor are they more likely than nonethicists to act according to values they espouse, according to researchers from the ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
10 hours ago | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In a series of lab experiments designed to unravel the workings of a key enzyme widely considered a possible trigger of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that in the most severe ...
9 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Researchers have developed a new drug delivery system that allows inhalation of chemotherapeutic drugs to help treat lung cancer, and in laboratory and animal tests it appears to reduce the systemic damage ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |