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Damage to the Insula Disrupts Addiction to Cigarette Smoking

Science  26 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5811, pp. 531-534
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135926

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Abstract

A number of brain systems have been implicated in addictive behavior, but none have yet been shown to be necessary for maintaining the addiction to cigarette smoking. We found that smokers with brain damage involving the insula, a region implicated in conscious urges, were more likely than smokers with brain damage not involving the insula to undergo a disruption of smoking addiction, characterized by the ability to quit smoking easily, immediately, without relapse, and without persistence of the urge to smoke. This result suggests that the insula is a critical neural substrate in the addiction to smoking.

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