Researchers zoom in on brain’s addiction spots



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Thursday 31 January 2013

Last update 31 January 2013 3:43 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

TOKYO: A smoker’s craving to light up can be tamed by carefully targeted magnetic fields applied to the brain, a senior researcher from a Japanese-Canadian team said yesterday.
Scientists managed to zoom in on the exact spots that drive the need for nicotine, noting that a mental connection made when a smoker is able to have a cigarette markedly increases the desire to spark up.
They found that by interrupting this connection, the addict was better able to control his or her cravings.
“Cabin attendants who smoke say they feel stronger cravings for cigarettes as they approach landing times, no matter whether their flights are long-distance or not,” Takuya Hayashi told AFP from Kobe in western Japan.
“Our study shows the urge for smoking is not only about if smokers are running out of nicotine,” said Hayashi, of Japan’s RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science, noting a neural mechanism was also playing a role.
MRI images showed two regions in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls decision-making, interact and increase the urge to smoke, according to the study, carried out jointly with Alain Dagher of the Montreal Neurological Institute at Canada’s McGill University.
Imaging of the brains of ten smokers who watched video footage of people puffing away showed increased activity in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), a region of the brain just behind the eyes.
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is located higher up, was found to become active if the smoker knows cigarettes will be available immediately after the experiment.
Higher activity in the DLPFC boosted activity in the OFC, thereby increasing the desire to smoke, the study found.
When researchers targeted the DLPFC with magnetic stimulation — effectively limiting it — activity in the OFC became independent of the availability or otherwise of tobacco, thus reducing cravings.
“The findings could lead to the development of treatments for tobacco and other addictions” because they have pinpointed the exact parts of the frontal cortex that are involved, Hayashi said.
The research is published in the US-based PNAS journal.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

SYDNEY: Amnesty International has demanded that Mustafa Al-Hosawi, a Saudi prisoner at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, be treated for the torture he underwent at the hands of the CIA.The US branch of the organization sent a message to health officials at the...
JEDDAH: The city’s airport staff saved a 20-year-old woman who tried to throw herself from the upper floor to the mezzanine floor in the southern hall. Sources said the suicide attempt was due to family disputes. Administrators said a supervisor in t...
RIYADH: Education Minister Ahmad Al-Issa has ordered to gradually close down private night schools beginning from the current year. The closure of these schools will be complete by 1439H.Al-Issa’s decision is based on reports of a body, which highlig...
Jeddah: The Criminal Court in Jeddah has sentenced a man to nine months in jail for beating his wife and insulting her by calling her “stubborn and ignorant.” The man has also been required to make a written pledge not to go near his wife, while the...
MUNICH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister defended his country’s treatment of women on Friday, saying it had made progress on female education but would take time to let them drive cars.“When it comes to issues like women’s driving, this is not a relig...
RIYADH: A cross-section of Saudi society on Friday denounced the Jazan massacre that shook the nation on Thursday, when a gunman went on the rampage killing seven education officials and injuring several others in Al-Dair governorate.The culprit, ide...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Awad Al-Balawi, head of the Saudi Border Guard, recently confirmed the expansion of the employment program for women within the border security sector. He said that the sector is entering a new phase as women will be employed in a n...
RIYADH: A medical team of the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital (KASCH) at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (National Guard) here have successfully conducted the first liver transplant on a baby boy. Fahad Mari Said Al-Sairdh, father of the...
JEDDAH: The Makkah Investigation and Prosecution Board reintroduced the crane crash incident to the Riyadh Investigation and Prosecution Board recently, adding 10 more employees and supervisors from different government agencies before the courts. Th...
JEDDAH: The teacher who gunned down seven education officials in Al-Dair governorate on Thursday had been showing behavioral problems in recent days, Al-Janob Misfer Al-Subhan, director of King Faisal Secondary School in Dharan, was quoted as saying...
JEDDAH: The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is investigating the Nakheel Mall case, in which a girl was beaten up by a group of Haia members, an official of the commission has said. “The HRC is supposed to guarantee the rights of those harmed, whoever...
AL-AHSA: King Faisal University (KFU) in Al-Ahsa is currently studying the possibility of admitting female students to specialize in veterinary medicine, the director of the university, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saati, confirmed. He said the matter has been p...
JEDDAH: A fingerprinting campaign, titled “Imprint Homeland,” against extremism and terrorism, was launched at the Jeddah corniche on Thursday night. The drive will cover all the 17 regions of Makkah province.The campaign, initiated by the Makkah gov...
RIYADH: The number of unemployed Saudi nationals reached 647,000 by the end of last year, of whom 56 percent, or 363,800, hold bachelor’s degrees or licenses. Female bachelor’s degree and license holders accounted for three-fourths of unemployed Saud...
RIYADH: Four citizens have been arrested in two murder cases, one of which was a road rage. One of the suspects resisted arrest and even opened fire on the police, but no one was injured.According to the Riyadh police, a clinic informed them that it...

Stay Connected

Facebook