Archiv für Januar 2007

How to surgically remove your smoking habit

Januar 26, 2007 - Markus Hoenicka
While many smokers see smoking as a pleasant habit rather than an addiction, a large part of smokers who want to quit find this very difficult to do. A recent paper in the top-notch journal "Science" suggests a different cure (well, the paper doesn't suggest it, but it is quite obvious). 69 previous smokers with minor brain damage due to stroke were investigated in this study. Minor brain damage implies here that they were able to make sense of questionnaires and interviews. Of these patients, 37 did not quit smoking. The remaining 32 did. Half of the quitters reported that their addiction was gone, whereas the other half reported that they still felt the urge to smoke but had quit anyway. A mapping of the damaged brain regions gave a high correlation between the loss of the urge to smoke and the damage to a particular region of the brain called the insula. According to these findings, the insula is apparently responsible for maintaining learned pleasant feelings, as opposed e.g. to the innate satisfaction caused by eating (none of the patients reported a loss of the urge to eat).

So if you find it hard to quit, why not stop by at your favourite neurosurgeon at the corner and have your insula poked?