SfN: Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Smokers Quit

SfN: Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Smokers Quit
SfN: Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Smokers Quit

(HealthDay News) – Deep brain stimulation, particularly if preceded by an image of a lit cigarette, reduces cigarette consumption and nicotine dependence and improves abstinence rates, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held from Nov. 9–13 in San Diego.

Limor Dinur-Klein, from Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues randomly assigned 115 adults who smoked ≥20 cigarettes per day and were motivated to quit smoking to high-frequency or low-frequency deep repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the lateral prefrontal cortex and insula or sham stimulation. Each group was presented or not presented with a smoking cue before stimulation.

The researchers found that cigarette consumption and nicotine dependence were reduced after high-frequency deep rTMS treatment, as assessed by cotinine levels in urine, patient self-reports, and questionnaires on dependence and craving. Patients who received high-frequency stimulation smoked less and were more likely to quit, with a success rate four times higher than that seen in the low-frequency group and six times higher than that seen in the placebo group. A smoking cue further improved treatment efficacy, with a 44% abstinence rate at the end of high-frequency treatment and a 33% rate six months later.

"Multiple sessions of high-frequency stimulation of the lateral prefrontal cortex and insula bilaterally with deep rTMS reduces features of cigarette addiction, especially when the craving circuitry is activated by presentation of smoking cues just prior to the stimulation," Dinur-Klein and colleagues conclude.

One author serves as a consultant to and has a financial interest in Brainsway, which partially supported the study and provided the deep TMS coils.

Press Release/Abstract
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