Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies of Cigarette Smoking

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Abstract

This chapter reviews studies that have applied magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) toward a better understanding of the neurobiological correlates and consequences of cigarette smoking and nicotine dependence. The findings demonstrate that smokers differ from nonsmokers in regional brain structure and neurochemistry, as well as in activation in response to smoking-related stimuli and during the execution of cognitive tasks. We also review functional neuroimaging studies on the effects of nicotine administration on brain activity, both at rest and during the execution of cognitive tasks, independent of issues related to nicotine withdrawal and craving. Although chronic cigarette smoking is associated with poor cognitive performance, acute nicotine administration appears to enhance cognitive performance and increase neural efficiency in smokers.