TMS-fMRI for Neural Pathway in Smokers

TMS-fMRI for Neural Pathway in Smokers

Cigarette smoking causes significant morbidity and mortality in the United States. Smoking cessation is difficult, with the average smoker attempting to quit five times before permanent success. Moreover, the majority of smoking quit attempts result in relapse. Brain stimulation for smoke cessation is an exciting new area that builds on advancing neuroscience knowledge concerning the functional neurocircuitry of addiction. Cortical stimulation can now be performed non-invasively by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Several studies have shown that TMS can reduce cue-elicited craving in smokers. Previous research by group has shown that a single session of 15 minutes high frequency (10 Hz) repetitive TMS (rTMS) at 100% motor threshold over the left dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can reduce cue-induced craving compared to sham TMS. However, the mechanism by which craving is reduced by rTMS is poorly understood both at behavioral and neural levels. Neuroimaging studies in nicotine dependence have revealed cue-related responses in numerous brain areas, including frontal, parietal cortices and subcortical areas. Recently functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies by the group have shown that cue-induced craving induced brain activation in ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), including medial frontal, orbital frontal and anterior cingulate. This Chair Research Development Fund (CRDF) pilot proposal will integrate two new techniques- TMS and fMRI to investigate DLPFC-VMPFC pathway in smokers. Using double-masked methods investigators hypothesize that cue-induced exposure will induce brain activity in VMPFC, and 15 minutes rTMS over DLPFC will reduce cue-induced craving through modulating DLPFC-VMPFC pathway (increased activity DLPFC and decreased activity VMPFC).

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Device - Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Repetitive TMS Modulates Dorsal Lateral Prefrontal-Ventral Medial Prefrontal Pathway to Decrease Craving in Smokers