THURSDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- In smokers, stimulating the brain in certain ways can manipulate their cravings for cigarettes, researchers have found.
The finding could lead to new treatments to help people kick the habit, according to the authors of the study published in the Oct. 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry.
Using brain imaging technology, researchers from Duke University Medical Center identified several regions of the cerebral cortex and the limbic system, which is involved in emotion, that are activated during cravings. Based on these studies, they used noninvasive magnetic stimulation of these areas of the brain in an attempt to manipulate these cravings.
"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 one of the study authors, Dr. Jed Rose, in a journal news release.