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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
23-Apr-2009

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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-787-741-1853
BioMed Central
@biomedcentral

How cigarettes calm you down

The calming neurological effects of nicotine have been demonstrated in a group of non-smokers during anger provocation. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions suggest that nicotine may alter the activity of brain areas that are involved in the inhibition of negative emotions such as anger.

Jean Gehricke led a team of researchers from the University of California who studied the effect of nicotine patches on the subjects' tendency to retaliate in response to anger provocation. The subjects played a computer game and could see a video screen of another player who they believed to be their opponent, although, in fact, they were playing alone. After each round, the victor could give his opponent a burst of unpleasant noise - at a duration and volume set by the winner. In some of the subjects, nicotine was associated with a reduced tendency to retaliate, even after provocation by the 'opponent'.

According to Gehricke, "Participants who showed nicotine-induced changes in anger task performance also showed changes in brain metabolism. Nicotine-induced reductions in length of retaliation were associated with changes in brain metabolism in response to nicotine in brain areas responsible for orienting, planning and processing of emotional stimuli".

The authors say that their findings support the idea that people of an angry disposition are more susceptible to nicotine's effects, and are therefore more likely to become addicted to cigarettes. They conclude, "Novel behavioral treatments that affect the cortical and limbic brain areas, like anger management training, may aid smoking cessation efforts in anger provoking situations that increase withdrawal and tobacco cravings".

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Notes to Editors

1. Nicotine-induced brain metabolism associated with anger provocation
Jean G Gehricke, Steven G Potkin, Frances M Leslie, Sandra E Loughlin, Carol K Whalen, Larry D Jamner, James Mbogori and James H Fallon
Behavioral and Brain Functions (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/imedia/1742627332329045_article.pdf?random=604462

After the embargo, article available at journal website: http://www.behavioralandbrainfunctions.com/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication

2. Behavioral and Brain Functions is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that encompasses all aspects of neurobiology where the unifying theme is behavior or behavioral dysfunction. Behavioral and Brain Functions is aimed at the scientific community interested in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, investigating the psychological, computational, and neuroscientific bases of normal and abnormal behavior including the mind. The interdisciplinary nature of the field covers developments in human and animal behavioral science, neuroscience, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, neurobiology, linguistics, computer science, and philosophy.

3. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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