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29 October 2010

More smoke, less grey cells

A specific region of the cerebral cortex of smokers is thinner than that of people who have never smoked in their lives.

Is there a relation between the structure of specific regions of the brain and nicotine dependence? This is the question researchers of the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) Berlin have been investigating lately. The results of these investigations extend and specify those of preceding studies: A specific region of the cerebral cortex of smokers is thinner than that of people who have never smoked in their lives. This region is decisive for reward, impulse control, and the making of decisions. The questions of whether smoking leads to this cerebral region becoming thinner - or whether people who have a thinner cortex region by nature are more frequently inclined to become smokers - can only be clarified by further investigations.

Cause-and-effect unclear

 
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