Effects of Nicotine on Brain Development Alexandria VA

Researchers have found that nicotine, the addictive component in cigarettes, "tricks" the brain into creating memory associations between environmental cues and smoking behavior. This could help explain why former smokers miss lighting up when they are in a bar or after a meal.

David Walter Alway, MD
(410) 328-5660
4660 Kenmore Ave Ste 900
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: A Einstein Coll Of Med Of Yeshiva Univ, Bronx Ny 10461
Graduation Year: 1997

Data Provided by:
Shimellis Alemayehu, MD
(301) 925-7022
4600 King St Ste 4E
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Addis Ababa Univ, Fac Of Med, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Haile Sellassie)
Graduation Year: 1984

Data Provided by:
Simon Fishman, MD
(571) 236-3061
6355 Walker Ln
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Jefferson Med Coll-Thos Jefferson Univ, Philadelphia Pa 19107
Graduation Year: 1995

Data Provided by:
Donald Craig Oxenhandler, MD
(703) 751-7400
4660 Kenmore Ave Ste 419
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurological Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Washington Univ Sch Of Med, St Louis Mo 63110
Graduation Year: 1969

Data Provided by:
Preston C Calvert
(703) 461-1908
5249 Duke St Ste 401
Alexandria, VA
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Haideh Yazdani Sabet
(703) 370-9411
5130 Duke St
Alexandria, VA
Specialty
Neurology

Data Provided by:
Evren Burakgazi, MD
(571) 241-4683
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: Istanbul Univ, Cerrahpasa Tip Fak, Istanbul, Turkey
Graduation Year: 1996

Data Provided by:
Stuart Robert Stark, MD
(703) 212-0700
4660 Kenmore Ave Ste 900
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Md Sch Of Med, Baltimore Md 21201
Graduation Year: 1978

Data Provided by:
Hoda Mihieddine Hachicho, MD
(202) 994-4063
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Female
Education
Medical School: First Leningrad I P Pavlov Med Inst, St Petersburg, Russia
Graduation Year: 1991
Hospital
Hospital: Prince William Hospital, Manassas, Va
Group Practice: George Washington Univ Med Ctr

Data Provided by:
Michael Eli Redlich, MD
(703) 379-2844
4600 King St Ste 6R
Alexandria, VA
Specialties
Neurology
Gender
Male
Languages
French, German, Spanish
Education
Medical School: Tel Aviv Univ, Sackler Fac Of Med, Tel Aviv, Israel
Graduation Year: 1969
Hospital
Hospital: Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, Va; Inova Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria, Va
Group Practice: Jefferson Neurology Ctr

Data Provided by:
Data Provided by:

Effects of Nicotine on Brain Development

Provided By:

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found that nicotine, the addictive component in cigarettes, "tricks" the brain into creating memory associations between environmental cues and smoking behavior. This could help explain why former smokers miss lighting up when they are in a bar or after a meal.

The findings from researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are in the Sept. 10 issue of the journal Neuron.

"Our brains normally make these associations between things that support our existence and environmental cues so that we conduct behaviors leading to successful lives. The brain sends a reward signal when we act in a way that contributes to our well being," study co-author Dr. John A. Dani, professor of neuroscience at BCM said in a college news release. "However, nicotine commandeers this subconscious learning process in the brain so we begin to behave as though smoking is a positive action."

Dani said that environmental events linked with smoking can become cues that prompt the smoking urge. Those cues could include alcohol, a meal with friends or even the drive home from work.

Dani and Dr. Jianrong Tang, instructor of neuroscience at BCM and co-author of the report, recorded the brain activity of mice as they were exposed to nicotine.

The mice were allowed to roam through an apparatus with two compartments. In one compartment, they received nicotine. In the other, they got a saline solution. The researchers recorded how long the mice spent in each compartment and brain activity within the hippocampus, an area of the brain that creates new memories.

"The brain activity change was just amazing," Dani said. "Compared to injections of saline, nicotine strengthened neuronal connections -- sometimes up to 200 percent. This strengthening of connections underlies new memory formation."

Dani said understanding mechanisms that create memory could have implications in future research and treatments for memory disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, and for dopamine signaling disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

More information

The National Institutes of Health has more information on nicotine here.

SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, news release, Sept. 9, 2009

Copyright © 2009 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

Read Article at HealthDay.com