e-cigarette review NEWS: Brain stimulation curbs cigarette craving

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Brain stimulation curbs cigarette craving

Stimulating a portion of the brain with magnetic fields temporarily reduces the craving for cigarettes felt by smokers, researchers say.
A new study found that a single 15-minute session of high frequency trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the prefrontal cortex temporarily reduced cue-induced smoking craving in nicotine-dependent individuals.
Nicotine activates the dopamine system and reward-related regions in the brain. Nicotine withdrawal naturally results in decreased activity of these regions, which has been closely associated with craving, relapse, and continued nicotine
One of the critical reward-related regions is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which can be targeted using a brain stimulation technology called trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, according to the study published in journal Biological Psychiatry. Trans-cranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells.
It does not require sedation or anaesthesia and so patients remain awake, reclined in a chair, while treatment is administered through coils placed near the forehead.
Dr Xingbao Li and colleagues at Medical University of South Carolina examined cravings triggered by smoking cues in 6 nicotine-dependent volunteers who received one session each of high frequency or sham repetitive trans-cranial magnetic stimulation applied over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
They found that craving induced by smoking cues was reduced after participants received real stimulation. They also reported that the reduction in cue-induced craving was positively correlated with level of nicotine dependence, in other words, the TMS-induced craving reductions were greater in those with higher levels of nicotine use.
"While this was only a temporary effect, it raises the possibility that repeated TMS sessions might ultimately be used to help smokers quit smoking," said Li. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths globally. Smoking cessation is difficult, with more than 90 per cent of attempts to quit resulting in relapse.


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