The brain might be a determining success factor when you’re trying to quit smoking, as MRI scans show that successful quitters have greater brain connectivity in certain regions of the brain, according to a recent study.
The study, which was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology on April 21, 2015, was led by a team of scientists from Duke University in North Carolina.
The researchers analyzed MRI scans of 85 people taken 30 days prior to their attempts to quit smoking. In the following 10 weeks, researchers tracked their progress and during that period, 41 people relapsed. Looking at MRI scans of 44 people who successfully quit smoking, the researchers found out that they had something in common, as the study’s lead author and assistant professor at Duke, Merideth Addicott, was quoted by The Daily Mail as having explained, “We found that there was greater coordination between insula, brain center for urges and cravings, and the somatosensory cortex, part of the brain responsible for sense of touch and movement control.”
In simple words, insula is sending messages to other parts of the brain that then make decision to pick up a cigarette or not.
“Other studies have shown that smokers who suffer damage to insula appear to spontaneously lose interest in smoking. On the other hand, persons who are craving for cigarettes showed increased brain activity in this region,” said Joseph McClernon, co-author of the study and associate professor at Duke.
The authors of the study believe that targeting connectivity between insula and somatosensory cortex could be a good strategy for helping smokers quit. In conclusion, McClernon indicated that if they’re able to “increase the brain connectivity of those who attempt to quit smoking to look more like those who successfully quit, it would be a nice place to start. However, further research is needed in order to fully understand how greater connectivity between these brain regions increases the success rate.”
In other smoking related news here on Immortal News, a recent electronic cigarette study suggests e-cig smokers are less likely to quit smoking in comparison to regular smokers who have never used e-cigarettes.