Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoking Produces Changes In Human Brain Like Those In Animals Using Illicit Drugs

Date:
February 22, 2007
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
New research shows for the first time that smoking produces long-lasting biochemical changes in the human brain similar to those changes previously seen in the brains of animals that used cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs.

New research shows for the first time that smoking produces long-lasting biochemical changes in the human brain similar to those changes previously seen in the brains of animals that used cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs.

Related Articles


This new research supports the idea that long-term smoking alters the brain in ways that contribute to addiction, and provides insight into how addiction works, says lead author Bruce Hope, PhD, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The study, supported by NIDA, is published in the February 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"The data show that there are long lasting chemical changes in the brains of humans," says Michael Kuhar, PhD, of Emory University. "The chemical changes alone suggest a physiological basis for nicotine addiction." Kuhar was not involved in this study.

Hope and his colleagues studied samples of human brain tissue from the nucleus accumbens and the ventral midbrain, brain regions that play a part in controlling addiction-related behaviors. Eight samples were taken from each of three groups: long-term smokers until the time of death, previous long-term smokers, and nonsmokers. All died of causes not related to smoking.

The researchers analyzed levels of two specific enzymes found inside neurons that translate chemical signals outside the neuron, such as the neurotransmitter dopamine, into chemical signals and changes inside the neuron. They found elevated levels of these enzymes in the smokers, but, more interesting, levels remained high, as compared to nonsmokers, in the ventral midbrains of former smokers. This suggests that the changes persist long after smoking has ceased and could contribute to drug relapse, Hope says.

"The parallel between the new study and the animal studies is important because a causal role has been shown in animal studies between increased levels of these neuronal signaling enzymes in these brain regions and addiction-related behaviors. This strongly suggests that the similar changes observed in smokers and former smokers contributed to their addiction," he adds.

Hope points out that although previous investigations on human smokers revealed similar results, "these biochemical changes have not yet been observed to play causal roles in addiction-related behaviors, or were altered in brain regions where their effects on behavior are unknown."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Smoking Produces Changes In Human Brain Like Those In Animals Using Illicit Drugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221071122.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2007, February 22). Smoking Produces Changes In Human Brain Like Those In Animals Using Illicit Drugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221071122.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Smoking Produces Changes In Human Brain Like Those In Animals Using Illicit Drugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070221071122.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins