Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Influencing craving for cigarettes by stimulating the brain

Date:
October 31, 2011
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Targeted brain stimulation increases cigarette cravings, a new study has found, which may lead to new treatments. Cues such as watching someone else smoke, elicit craving and may provoke relapse. There are many methods that smokers use in an attempt to reduce their craving for cigarettes, including efficacious pharmacologic treatments such as nicotine patches, hypnosis and acupuncture. Scientists have long suspected that these diverse approaches might work through the reduction of activity in a brain circuit that is responsible for cigarette craving.

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."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jed E. Rose, F. Joseph McClernon, Brett Froeliger, Frιdιrique M. Behm, Xavier Preud'homme, Andrew D. Krystal. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Superior Frontal Gyrus Modulates Craving for Cigarettes. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; 70 (8): 794 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2011.05.031

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Influencing craving for cigarettes by stimulating the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031115229.htm>.
Elsevier. (2011, October 31). Influencing craving for cigarettes by stimulating the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031115229.htm
Elsevier. "Influencing craving for cigarettes by stimulating the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031115229.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) — Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) — Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
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