PET lights up smokers' motives

June 1, 2007

While tobacco addiction exhibits a similar biological mechanism among all smokers, Duke University researchers using FDG-PET have found for the first time that those mechanisms can vary among individuals depending on the reasons they ascribe to their craving.

While tobacco addiction exhibits a similar biological mechanism among all smokers, Duke University researchers using FDG-PET have found for the first time that those mechanisms can vary among individuals depending on the reasons they ascribe to their craving.

Jed E. Rose, Ph.D., and colleagues from the departments of psychiatry and radiology found that changes in the thalamus (shown in blue) were most dramatic among smokers wishing to calm down when under stress. Changes in the striatum (red) were most notable in smokers wanting to satisfy craving and experience pleasurable relaxation. Changes in the anterior cingulate cortex (green) were noticeably activated in people who smoked to manage their weight.

The study, funded by Phillip Morris USA and published online in March in Neuropsychopharmacology, may yield better methods for individualized smoking cessation programs, according to the study. (Image provided by Duke University)