Scientists have found the reason why it is so difficult to quit smoking.
American experts seem to have found the reason for the strong dependence on smoking. The fact is that nicotine metabolites cause a number of changes in the brain – it is these transformations that can explain why smokers are so addicted to tobacco and why they suffer so severely during smoking cessation.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used functional MRI to scan the brains of 37 smokers in the trial. The volunteers ranged in age from 19 to 61 years old, and all of them had a correspondingly different smoking history. Scans were taken twice: immediately after they smoked and again after they had been abstinent from nicotine for 24 hours.
Researchers have found that nicotine weakens the connections in certain areas of the brain responsible for the ability to control one’s desires, including managing cravings for cigarettes. In particular, according to the study, smokers have problems in the neural networks of the brain, which prevents them from focusing on quitting. “Withdrawal symptoms are also associated with changes in the brains of smokers, which makes them less able to adapt to the conditions of nicotine starvation,” said Karin Lerman, co-author of the study.
This latest discovery could lead to new ways to treat smokers, including those with years of experience and a higher risk of failure when they try to quit. The research could also lead to the development of more intense and effective treatments for this addiction that will help smokers quit for good.
“The next step will be to determine, based on brain activity, those smokers who will find it most difficult to give up this addiction. We will try to treat them more intensively,” the authors of the study said.