Smoking Addiction: Studies of “vaping” brain may offer clues

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London: British scientists say they have found the best way yet to analyse the effects of smoking on the brain — by taking functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of people while they puff on e-cigarettes.

In a small pilot study, the researchers used electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, to mimic the behavioural aspects of smoking tobacco cigarettes, and say future studies could help scientists understand why smoking is so addictive.

E-cigarettes use battery-powered cartridges to produce a nicotine-laced vapour to inhale — hence the new term “vaping”.

Their use has rocketed in recent years, but there is fierce debate about the risks and benefits. Some public health experts say they could help millions quit tobacco cigarettes, while others argue they could “normalise” the habit and lure children into smoking.

While that argument rages, tobacco kills some 6 million people a year, and the World Health Organization estimates that could rise beyond 8 million by 2030

“E-cigarettes … provide a very good simulation of traditional smoking (and) we have shown that using e-cigarettes with fMRI is an excellent paradigm for direct evaluation of the effects of smoking on human neurophysiology,” he said.

The plan now is to conduct larger studies using “vapers”.

Wall`s findings were due to be presented on Tuesday at the Global Addiction Conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Source by : Zee Health News

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