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Brain Stimulation Reduces Smoking Cravings

TUESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- High-frequency brain stimulation can temporarily reduce smoking cravings, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of Biological Psychiatry.

Xingbao Li, M.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues randomly assigned 16 nicotine-dependent patients to receive treatment with either real high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or active sham TMS over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

The researchers found that the real rTMS treatment significantly reduced cue-induced smoking craving compared with the sham treatment. When compared with neutral cue craving, the reduction after real rTMS was even greater. The reduction in craving after real rTMS was greater in patients with greater nicotine dependence and in those who smoked more cigarettes per day.

"In conclusion, the results of this preliminary study demonstrate that rTMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex can temporarily suppress cue-induced smoking craving," Li and colleagues write. "This finding extends the results of previous studies and opens the way for further exploration of the use of brain stimulation techniques in smoking cessation treatment."

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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