women-health-info.com

Targeting Brain Region Could Help Smokers Quit: Study

A new study suggests smokers can blame a specific part of their brains for difficulty kicking the habit.

By Christina Hartman | November 15, 2013

Smokers, if you're having trouble breaking the habit — a new study suggests you can blame your brain. 

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School say there are specific areas of the brain responsible for those nasty withdrawal symptoms: headaches, irritability and nausea. (Via CNN)

As any longtime smoker can attest, quitting can be hard. Experts say nicotine could be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. (Via Howcast)

Even after I had my heart surgery (FLASH) I still smoked after that. (FLASH) This is after I had six bypass surgeries. (FLASH) It's difficult." (Via CDC)

Those University of Massachusetts researchers gave mice water laced with nicotine for more than a month. They then analyzed how their brains formed addiction. (Via Voice of America)

What they observed was an area in the middle of the brain — called the interpeduncular nucleus — harbored activity that stimulated withdrawal symptoms. 

See — when a person smokes, nicotine travels pretty quickly to the brain. It attaches itself to a receptor that releases a chemical called dopamine, which makes people feel good. (Via Mayo Clinic)

The researchers say their study gives them hope that if they can learn how to basically deactivate the neurons in that region of the brain, they could probably help more people kick the habit. According to the CDC tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths every year. 

  TRENDING IN U.S. NEWS
Photo from the scene of the shooting.WATCHLIST
KNXV

2 Teen Girls Shot Dead At Arizona High School

TV personality Ellen DeGeneres attends The 41st Annual People's Choice AwardsWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Christopher Polk

Ellen DeGeneres Surprises Detroit School With $500K Donation

A group of children play at The Little Gym.WATCHLIST
Parker Knight / CC BY 2.0

Ending Racism Means Integrating Daycare

Singer Barry Manilow peforms during the curtain call of Manilow On Broadway Opening Night at the St. James Theatre on January 29, 2013 in New York City.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz

Barry Manilow Rushed To LA Due To Complications After Oral Surgery

Injured patron wheeled into hospital after machete attack.WATCHLIST
WCPO

Police Kill Suspect After Machete Attack At Ohio Restaurant

A man reads the label on a wine bottle.WATCHLIST
 

Millennials Drank A Lot Of Wine Last Year

Edgar Latulip's Missing Person PageWATCHLIST
North American Missing Persons Network

Missing Canadian Man Remembers His Identity After 30 Years

This is not what "cord-cutting" actually looks like.WATCHLIST
Newsy / Danny Matteson

We Learned The Hard Way: Cordcutting Isn't Easy

Kanye West hosts listening party for "The Life of Pablo"WATCHLIST
Tidal / Kanye West

Kanye West Debuts New Music And Fashion In Classic Kanye West Fashion

Liang says he was patrolling a housing project with his gun drawn when he was surprised by a noise and accidentally fired.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Byron Smith

NYPD Officer Found Guilty In Shooting Death Of Unarmed Man

Southern California Gas Co. temporarily stopped a gas leak near Porter Ranch.WATCHLIST
Twitter / @socalgas

Months Later, Southern California Gas Leak Is Temporarily Plugged

Rep. Duncan Hunter from California pulls from a vaporizer during a Transport Committee meeting.WATCHLIST
U.S. House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

Congressman From California Is A Vape Crusader

A sad man on a date.WATCHLIST
 

Men, You're More Likely To Lie About Valentine's Day Plans

Asking For A Friend: How Do You Deal With An Ex?WATCHLIST
Newsy

Asking For A Friend: How Do You Deal With An Ex?

OK Go's music video for "Upside Down & Inside Out."WATCHLIST
Paracadute / OK Go

A Russian Space Center Helped OK Go Film A Music Video In Zero Gravity

Demonstrators march on Ontario St. on December 29, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Protestors took to the street the day after a grand jury declined to indict Cleveland Police officer Timothy Loehmann for the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice on November 22, 2014.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Angelo Merendino

Cleveland Rescinds $500 Ambulance Bill Sent To Tamir Rice's Family

Anti-government protesters in Burns, Oregon.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Matt Mills McKnight

Weekslong Standoff At Oregon Wildlife Refuge Finally Ends

FitbitWATCHLIST
Becky Stern / CC BY 2.0

Man On Reddit Uses Wife's Fitbit To Find Out She's Pregnant

Photo of the Oregon protesters.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Standoff At Oregon Wildlife Refuge May Be Coming To An End

Stan Kroenke sits courtside at the Denver Nuggets game.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Doug Pensinger

Stan Kroenke Has 12 More Ranches Than You — And Way More Haters, Too

Mayor James Knowles packs up following a city council meeting in Ferguson, MissouriWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Olson

DOJ Sues Ferguson, Missouri, For Denying Justice System Overhaul

A scene from the search for Titus Tackett.WATCHLIST
KMOV

Missing 3-Year-Old Found Dead In Iron County, Missouri

A exterior view of the Palace Theatre at the opening night of 'West Side Story' on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on March 19, 2009 in New York City.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Neilson Barnard

Aaron Sorkin Is Helping Bring 'To Kill A Mockingbird' To Broadway

Photo of a dog who hopped into an open police car in Florida.WATCHLIST
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

Florida Pooch Plays Police Officer, Hops Into Open Cruiser

Flint, Michigan water contaminationWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Bill Pugliano

Flint Water Contamination Could Lead To Manslaughter Charges

John Feit's mugshot.WATCHLIST
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Former Priest Arrested In Connection With 1960 Murder Case

A barbed-wire fence.WATCHLIST
 

Maryland's Senate Extends Voting Rights To All Ex-Convicts

A Chipotle employee prepares a burrito bowl.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Lawyer Receives Hundreds Of Texts From Strangers Wanting Free Chipotle

With so many working to fix racial bias in adults, we spoke with a neuroscience researcher who says we may need to focus our attention on kids instead In this file photograph taken on March 20, 2007, a two-week-old boy finds his feet in his new world. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced, April 3, 2007 that for the first time, mothers-to-be will have a guarantee that the NHS will provide them with a full range of birthing choices - including home births - and a midwife they know and trust to care for them. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

Why Fixing Racial Biases Starts With Babies

Activist and Civil Rights Movement leader Diane Nash.WATCHLIST
Film Circuit / "Freedom Riders," Newsy / Connor Hickox

Diane Nash Talks Women And Civil Rights-Era Activism