Strong beliefs can treat nicotine addiction

Strong beliefs can treat nicotine addiction
Highlights

Harnessing addicts to a strong belief system can help induce physiological changes to reverse-engineer nicotine addiction, a study suggests. Nicotine has formidable effects throughout the brain, especially in the reward-based learning pathways. Nicotine teaches the brain that smoking leads to reward. Once the brain learns that correlation, the addictive chemical cycle is difficult to break.

New York: Harnessing addicts to a strong belief system can help induce physiological changes to reverse-engineer nicotine addiction, a study suggests. Nicotine has formidable effects throughout the brain, especially in the reward-based learning pathways. Nicotine teaches the brain that smoking leads to reward. Once the brain learns that correlation, the addictive chemical cycle is difficult to break.

In the study, scientists tracked the brain responses using functional magnetic resonance imaging. After smoking cigarettes, volunteers played a reward-based learning game while their brains were scanned. The subjects viewed a historical stock price graph, made an investment, and repeated the cycle multiple times. In each subject, the individually-tracked signals were specifically influenced by beliefs about nicotine.

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