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18 juillet 2011 1 18 /07 /juillet /2011 15:57

Neuropsychopharmacology 36, 1792-1800 (August 2011) | doi:10.1038/npp.2011.53

The Effects of Nicotine Replacement on Cognitive Brain Activity During Smoking Withdrawal Studied with Simultaneous fMRI/EEG

John D BeaverChristopher J LongDavid M ColeMichael J DurcanLinda C BannonRajesh G Mishra and Paul M Matthews


Impaired attention (‘difficulty concentrating’) is a cognitive symptom of nicotine withdrawal that may be an important contributor to smoking relapse. However, the neurobiological basis of this effect and the potentially beneficial effects of nicotine replacement therapy both remain unclear. We used functional MRI with simultaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) recording to define brain activity correlates of cognitive impairment with short-term smoking cessation in habitual smokers and the effects of nicotine replacement. We found that irrespective of treatment (ie nicotine or placebo) EEG α power was negatively correlated with increased activation during performance of a rapid visual information processing (RVIP) task in dorsolateral prefrontal, dorsal anterior cingulate, parietal, and insular cortices, as well as, caudate, and thalamus. Relative to placebo, nicotine replacement further increased the α-correlated activation across these regions. We also found that EEG α power was negatively correlated with RVIP-induced deactivation in regions comprising the ‘default mode’ network (ie angular gyrus, cuneus, precuneus, posterior cingulate, and ventromedial prefrontal cortex). These α-correlated deactivations were further reduced by nicotine. These findings confirm that effects of nicotine on cognition during short-term smoking cessation occur with modulation of neuronal sources common to the generation of both the blood oxygen-level-dependent and α EEG signals. Our observations thus demonstrate that nicotine replacement in smokers has direct pharmacological effects on brain neuronal activity modulating cognitive networks

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