Cumulative priming effects of cortical stimulation on smoking cue-induced craving.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Neurosci Lett, Volume 463, Issue 1, p.82-6 (2009)


Adult, Cerebral Cortex, Cross-Over Studies, Cues, Electric Stimulation, Electric Stimulation Therapy, Female, Humans, Male, Smoking


<p>Smoking cue-provoked craving is an intricate behavior associated with strong changes in neural networks. Craving is one of the main reasons subjects continue to smoke; therefore interventions that can modify activity in neural networks associated with craving can be useful tools in future research investigating novel treatments for smoking cessation. The goal of this study was to use a neuromodulatory technique associated with a powerful effect on spontaneous neuronal firing - transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) - to modify cue-provoked smoking craving. Based on preliminary data showing that craving can be modified after a single tDCS session, here we investigated the effects of repeated tDCS sessions on craving behavior. Twenty-seven subjects were randomized to receive sham or active tDCS (anodal tDCS of the left DLPFC). Our results show a significant cumulative effect of tDCS on modifying smoking cue-provoked craving. In fact, in the group of active stimulation, smoking cues had an opposite effect on craving after stimulation - it decreased craving - as compared to sham stimulation in which there was a small decrease or increase on craving. In addition, during these 5 days of stimulation there was a small but significant decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked in the active as compared to sham tDCS group. Our findings extend the results of our previous study as they confirm the notion that tDCS has a specific effect on craving behavior and that the effects of several sessions can increase the magnitude of its effect. These results open avenues for the exploration of this method as a therapeutic alternative for smoking cessation and also as a mean to change stimulus-induced behavior.</p>

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