You Have To Be Brain Damaged To Stop Smoking

Well, no, that's nonsense. If you have any sense you'll stop without a whack up side the head. But it's apparently actually easier if you're brain damaged.

A patient who'd smoked about 40 butts a day before his insula (part of the brain's cerebral cortex) was damaged by a stroke was able to quit smoking immediately after the injury. He told researchers his body simply "forgot the urge to smoke".

The research, reported in the journal Science, studied 69 patients with brain damage who had been smokers before the damage occurred. Overall, patients who quit easily were much more likely to have damage to the insula, which is associated with visceral functions and
integrates autonomic information.

The findings suggest the possibility of insula-targeting drugs that could help smokers quit, and it may be possible to assess the effectiveness of existing smoking cures by measuring insula activity using fMRI.



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