The effects of nicotine and non-nicotine smoking factors on working memory and associated brain function.
Smoking abstinence impairs executive function, which may promote continued smoking behavior and relapse. The differential influence of nicotine and non-nicotine (i.e. sensory, motor) smoking factors and related neural substrates is not known. In a fully factorial, within-subjects design, 33 smokers underwent fMRI scanning following 24 hours of wearing a nicotine or placebo patch while smoking very low nicotine content cigarettes or remaining abstinent from smoking. During scanning, blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal was acquired while participants performed a verbal N-back task. Following 24-hour placebo (versus nicotine) administration, accuracy on the N-back task was significantly worse and task-related BOLD signal lower in dorsomedial frontal cortex. These effects were observed irrespective of smoking. Our data provide novel evidence that abstinence-induced deficits in working memory and changes in underlying brain function are due in large part to abstinence from nicotine compared with non-nicotine factors. This work has implications both for designing interventions that target abstinence-induced cognitive deficits and for nicotine-reduction policy.
McClernon, FJ; Froeliger, B; Rose, JE; Kozink, RV; Addicott, MA; Sweitzer, MM; Westman, EC; Van Wert, DM
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