Standard therapeutic techniques decrease cravings of cigarette smokers by regulating activity in two separate but related areas of the brain, a new study led by a Yale University researcher shows.
Smokers who are taught cognitive strategies, such as thinking about the long-term consequences of smoking, show increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with cognitive control and rational thought. They also show decreased activity in areas of the striatum, an area of the brain associated with drug craving and reward-seeking behavior, according to the paper published online Aug. 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“This shows that smokers can indeed control their cravings, they just need to be told how to do it,” said Hedy Kober, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the paper.
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