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Why Stop Smoking?

November 13th, 2007 · No Comments

Recent research presented at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 54th Annual Meeting, suggests that in humans, prenatal and adolescent exposure to nicotine has harmful effects on auditory and visual attention in adolescents.

Lead researcher Leslie K. Jacobsen, MD, from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, said that they looked at 4 groups of adolescents:

* 67 smokers with prenatal exposure to maternal smoking.
* 44 smokers with no prenatal exposure to maternal smoking.
* 25 nonsmokers with prenatal exposure to maternal smoking.
* 45 nonsmokers with no prenatal exposure to maternal smoking.

The subjects underwent tests to assess auditory and visual attention. Performance was significantly modified by exposure in a dose-dependent manner. Individuals with dual exposure performed least accurately, and nonexposed nonsmokers performed most accurately.

In the female adolescents, exposure to nicotine either prenatally or from current smoking was associated with reductions in both auditory and visual attention performance accuracy. In male adolescents, the nicotine exposure was linked to decreases in auditory attention but not visual attention.

In a second part of this study, 63 subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing an auditory and visual selective and divided attention task. Activation of brain areas that support auditory attention was greater in adolescents with prenatal or adolescent exposure to tobacco smoke relative to adolescents without such exposure.

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

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