Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Researchers at the Univ. of Copenhagen have studied the immediate reaction in the brain after quitting smoking. At just 12 hours after kicking the habit, the oxygen uptake and blood flow in the brain decrease significantly compared to never-smokers. This could explain why it is so difficult to say goodbye to nicotine once and for all.

Smoking is harmful in almost every respect. Cancer, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are just a small part of a well-documented portfolio of serious consequences of smoking. Nicotine is what makes smoking addictive, but new Danish research suggests that smoking initially increases brain activity. However, the brain tissue quickly adapts and the effect will disappear.

On the other hand, according to brain scans, the brain's oxygen uptake and blood flow decreases by up to 17 percent immediately after people stop smoking, "Regular smokers experience an almost dementia-like condition in the early hours after quitting, as suggested by brain scans. This can be quite an unpleasant experience, and is probably one of the reasons why it can be very difficult to quit smoking once and for all. Smokers drift  back into abuse, perhaps not to obtain a pleasant effect – that ship has sailed – but simply because the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable," says Prof. Albert Gjedde, neuroscience researcher at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Univ. of Copenhagen.



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