Teens’ Brain Structure May Be Altered By Smoking

Health & Family

It’s no surprise that smoking for years can change the way the brain processes nicotine, creating a well-worn pattern of craving and satisfaction that’s difficult to break.

But how soon does this cycle get started? And does nicotine actually alter structures in the brain to make dependence more likely?

In the latest research, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Edythe London, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at University of California Los Angeles, and her team found that young smokers did have differences in a specific brain region compared with non smokers. Even more concerning, these differences emerged with a relatively light smoking habit of one pack or less of cigarettes a day.

MORE:Children Exposed to More Brain-Harming Chemicals Than Ever Before

London and her colleagues focused on a brain region called the insula, since previous studies in animal and adults showed that its size and volume were affected…

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