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.

Related Articles


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 April 20, 2015 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 April 20, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, April 20, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Common Pain Reliever Might Dull Your Emotions

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2015) — Each week, millions of Americans take acetaminophen to dull minor aches and pains. Now researchers say it might blunt life&apos;s highs and lows, too. Video provided by Newsy
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