Brain Changes in Smokers May Predict Relapse

Data from fMRI scans helped better predict relapse in smokers.

Earlier this year, the researchers — from Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, PA — demonstrated in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry how people experiencing nicotine withdrawal have trouble shifting between brain networks that govern different modes of behaviors.

In particular, nicotine withdrawal makes it harder for people to shift into the “executive control network,” which experts say allows individuals to exert more conscious self-control over cravings.

Now, the researchers say that their new study — published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology — is the first to apply analysis of that brain activity to predicting relapse among smokers.

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