Research brief: Brain damage makes quitting smoking easier

Smokers with damage to the insula region of the brain are able to quit immediately, suggest US research findings. The findings suggests this brain region is key for nicotine addiction. The study involved 69 smokers who had suffered brain damage, 19 of whom had damage to the insula. This showed that 12 out of 13 patients who quit smoking after a lesion in the insula also found their smoking addiction was ‘disrupted’. However, only 4 out of 19 patients who quit after a non-insula lesion had a disruption of smoking addiction (Science Online 2007).

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