Friday, January 26, 2007

Science Sucks . .

. . the puss of religiosity out of yet another explanation for our human frailties.

From the Guardian UK, Drugs and Alcohol section.
Smokers' weak point identified

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Friday January 26, 2007
The Guardian

A man who abruptly quit his 40-a-day smoking habit after suffering a stroke has helped neuroscientists pinpoint a coin-sized craving-centre in the brain.

The man, a long-term smoker, suffered stroke damage to a part of the brain called the insular, and quit, telling researchers his body "forgot the urge to smoke".

Nasir Naqvoi at the University of Iowa and Antoine Bechara at the brain and creativity institute at the University of Southern California have since identified other patients who quit smoking suddenly after experiencing similar brain damage.

The discovery gives neuroscientists fresh insight into the complex neurological circuitry of the addiction. While neurosurgeons are not about to tackle smoking addiction with a scalpel, it may give scientists clues for developing drugs to combat addicts' urges.

The scientists trawled a database of patient records to investigate the effects of brain damage on behaviour. Their results are published in Science today.

Of 69 smokers who had experienced brain injury, 19 had damage to the insular. All had been smoking at least five cigarettes a day for more than two years. Thirteen with insular damage had quit smoking, 12 suddenly, and had no urge to smoke since. Of 50 patients with damage to other parts of the brain, only four had quit, often after considerable effort.


I provided the Wikipedia linkage as it helps to know to what these articles are referring if we're to trust their reporting. Sounds bloody likely to be a hekkuva good research vein for resolving addictions! {puff}{puff}{slurp}{ahhhh} Woohoo!

8 comments:

  1. I heard about that. It's exciting news, really and in the long run could help a lot of people. I started wondering if there were other brain sites that cause violence, greed and other human struggles.

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  2. I would rather have emphysema than have some needle pokin' around in there to give me some "controlled" brain damage. Yikes!

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  3. Damn! To just lose the urge to smoke. Imagine how great that would make you feel, but at the same time, can you imagine the thoughts of 'what else have I lost'? Worth it? Probably. Smoking is one of those things that's almost guaranteed to kill you.

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  4. You betchya, Mary. The Wiki on the Insula is quite informative on that point.

    I'm with ya Teh. I don't even like the ECT crap they do. Had it done to me about 4 years ago as an alternative to suicide. For about 1 month afterward, I was freakin', well, not giddy, but feeling better than I had in Long Time. After that it went back to the same old, same old.

    I'm thinkin' chems and gene therapy are ultimately gonna be the best modifying methods. That ol' "let's cut this off/electrocute it and see what happens" shit ain't exactly Medicine's brightest idea when it comes to sentient folk.

    No quitting for the Nteenth time, just to start again? No making it 3 months and still wanting one Every Single Hour? No more gettin' all depressed cuz, everything's goin' great. Why the hell can't I just freakin' quit smoking??

    Yeah. I could dig that.

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  5. I dunno.
    These surgeries of choice scare the hell out of me.
    I keep refusing to go for the trendy Lasik, not to mention controlled brain stuff.
    Well, but I am not a smoker... Tried it several times, and never got into it.

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  6. Not a smoker...thank goodness. But I'm a terrible bitch and it's a hard habit to break I'm afraid! You know...it always goes to show ya...it's always something!

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  7. I'm kind of on the fence about this whole thing. We're always "correcting" ourselves, and while it would be cool to eliminate some of our most self-defeating, unhealthy, and even dangerously self-destructive habits, some of what we are is just who we are. Even being a bitch (Amen, Sumo) has a powerful positive side -- I'm pretty sure the essence of it at a young age prevented me from being molested.

    No use trying to squelch our Shadow. The more ways we try to snuff that part of our psyche out, the more fiercely it comes flying back. Better to make friends with it, I think, and learn how to use it for positive things.

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  8. Hhmmm... Is good to be cautious, but I think I see a theme in the responses such as yours, MM.

    Those are sound concerns, and ... well, I think they warrant a post of their own.

    Thanks for the impetus, m'lady!

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