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How genetics shape our addictions
Date:9/11/2012

pothesis that individuals with fast nicotine metabolism rates would have a greater brain response to smoking cues because of close coupling in everyday life between exposure to cigarettes and surges in blood nicotine concentration. In other words they learn to associate cigarette smoking with the nicotine surge," says clinician-scientist Dr. Alain Dagher, lead investigator at The Neuro. "In contrast, individuals with slow metabolism rates, who have relatively constant nicotine blood levels throughout the day, are less likely to develop conditioned responses to cues. For them, smoking is not associated with brief nicotine surges, so they are smoking for other reasons. Possibilities include maintenance of constant brain nicotine levels for cognitive enhancement (ie, improved attention, memory), or relief of stress or anxiety. "

Future research could focus on improving smoking cessation methods by tailoring treatments for different types of smokers. One possibility is to measure the rate of nicotine metabolism as part of the therapeutic decision-making process. For example, targeting cue-induced relapse risk may not help those with slow nicotine metabolism, who are more likely to benefit from long-acting cholinergic drugs such as the nicotine patch, consistent with previous clinical trials. Conversely the use of non-nicotine based therapies aimed at reducing craving may help fast metabolizers, as demonstrated for buproprion, an anti-depressant that has been used for smoking cessation.


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Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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