Bangkok Hypnosis

Posts Tagged ‘Quit Smoking’

Childhood Trauma Linked to Adult Smoking for Girls

Posted by Sun on July 18, 2012

ScienceDaily (July 12, 2012) — Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can stay with us for life. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy explains how these events can be tied up with adult smoking patterns, especially for women, and suggests that treatment and strategies to stop smoking need to take into account the psychological effects of childhood trauma.

ACEs can range from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse to neglect and household dysfunction and affect a large range of people. In one of the largest studies of ACEs survey over 60% of adults reported a history of at least one event.  ACEs are thought to have a long term effect on the development of children and can lead to unhealthy coping behaviour later in life.

Since psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, are known to increase the risk of smoking, researchers across the USA collaborated to investigate the effects of psychological distress on the relationship between ACE and current adult smoking. The ACE questionnaire was completed by over 7000 people, about half of whom were women.

Even after adjusting the data for factors known to affect a person’s propensity for smoking, such as their parents smoking during the subject’s childhood, and whether or not they had drunk alcohol in the previous month), women who had been physically or emotionally abused were 1.4 times more likely to smoke. Having had a parent in prison during childhood doubled chances of women smoking.

Psychological distress increases the chances that any person (male or female) will smoke. Dr Tara Strine, who led this study commented, “Since ACEs increase the risk of psychological distress for both men and women, it seemed intuitive that an individual experiencing an ACE will be more likely to be a tobacco cigarette smoker. However,  in our study, ACEs only to increased the risk of smoking among women.  Given this, men who have experienced childhood trauma may have different coping mechanisms than their female counterparts.”

Dr Strine continued, “Our results show that, among women, an underlying mechanism that links ACEs to adult smoking is psychological distress, particularly among those who have suffered emotional or physical abuse or physical neglect as a child. These findings suggest that current smoking cessation campaigns and strategies may benefit from understanding the potential relationship between childhood trauma and subsequent psychological distress on the role of smoking particularly in women.”

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

New Vaccine for Nicotine Addiction

Posted by Sun on July 6, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) — Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed and successfully tested in mice an innovative vaccine to treat nicotine addiction.

In the journal Science Translational Medicine, the scientists describe how a single dose of their novel vaccine protects mice, over their lifetime, against nicotine addiction. The vaccine is designed to use the animal’s liver as a factory to continuously produce antibodies that gobble up nicotine the moment it enters the bloodstream, preventing the chemical from reaching the brain and even the heart.

“As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect,” says the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

“Our vaccine allows the body to make its own monoclonal antibodies against nicotine, and in that way, develop a workable immunity,” Dr. Crystal says.

Previously tested nicotine vaccines have failed in clinical trials because they all directly deliver nicotine antibodies, which only last a few weeks and require repeated, expensive injections, Dr. Crystal says. Plus, this kind of impractical, passive vaccine has had inconsistent results, perhaps because the dose needed may be different for each person, especially if they start smoking again, he adds.

“While we have only tested mice to date, we are very hopeful that this kind of vaccine strategy can finally help the millions of smokers who have tried to stop, exhausting all the methods on the market today, but find their nicotine addiction to be strong enough to overcome these current approaches,” he says. Studies show that between 70 and 80 percent of smokers who try to quit light up again within six months, Dr. Crystal adds.

About 20 percent of adult Americans smoke, and while it is the 4,000 chemicals within the burning cigarette that causes the health problems associated with smoking — diseases that lead to one out of every five deaths in the U.S. — it is the nicotine within the tobacco that keeps the smoker hooked.

A New Kind of Vaccine

There are, in general, two kinds of vaccines. One is an active vaccine, like those used to protect humans against polio, the mumps, and so on. This kind of vaccine presents a bit of the foreign substance (a piece of virus, for example) to the immune system, which “sees” it and activates a lifetime immune response against the intruder. Since nicotine is a small molecule, it is not recognized by the immune system and cannot be built into an active vaccine.

The second type of vaccine is a passive vaccine, which delivers readymade antibodies to elicit an immune response. For example, the delivery of monoclonal (identically produced) antibodies that bind on to growth factor proteins on breast cancer cells shut down their activity.

The Weill Cornell research team developed a new, third kind — a genetic vaccine — that they initially tested in mice to treat certain eye diseases and tumor types. The team’s new nicotine vaccine is based on this model.

The researchers took the genetic sequence of an engineered nicotine antibody, created by co-author Dr. Jim D. Janda, of The Scripps Research Institute, and put it into an adeno-associated virus (AAV), a virus engineered to not be harmful. They also included information that directed the vaccine to go to hepatocytes, which are liver cells. The antibody’s genetic sequence then inserts itself into the nucleus of hepatocytes, and these cells start to churn out a steady stream of the antibodies, along with all the other molecules they make.

In mice studies, the vaccine produced high levels of the antibody continuously, which the researchers measured in the blood. They also discovered that little of the nicotine they administered to these mice reached the brain. Researchers tested activity of the experimental mice, treated with both a vaccine and nicotine, and saw that it was not altered; infrared beams in the animals’ cages showed they were just as active as before the vaccine was delivered. In contrast, mice that received nicotine and not treated with the vaccine basically “chilled out” — they relaxed and their blood pressure and heart activity were lowered — signs that the nicotine had reached the brain and cardiovascular system.

The researchers are preparing to test the novel nicotine vaccine in rats and then in primates — steps needed before it can be tested ultimately in humans.

Dr. Crystal says that, if successful, such a vaccine would best be used in smokers who are committed to quitting. “They will know if they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit,” he says.

He adds that it might be possible, given the complete safety of the vaccine, to use it to preempt nicotine addiction in individuals who have never smoked, in the same way that vaccines are used now to prevent a number of disease-producing infections. “Just as parents decide to give their children an HPV vaccine, they might decide to use a nicotine vaccine. But that is only theoretically an option at this point,” Dr. Crystal says. “We would of course have to weight benefit versus risk, and it would take years of studies to establish such a threshold.”

“Smoking affects a huge number of people worldwide, and there are many people who would like to quit, but need effective help,” he says. “This novel vaccine may offer a much-needed solution.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, and the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation.

The Cornell Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization, on behalf of Cornell University, has filed patent applications on the work described in this study.

Other study co-authors are Dr. Martin J. Hicks, Dr. Jonathan B. Rosenberg, Dr. Bishnu P. De, Dr. Odelya Pagovich, Dr. Jian-ping Qiu, Dr. Stephen M. Kaminsky, Dr. Neil R. Hackett, and Dr. Stefan Worgall from Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Colin N. Young and Dr. Robin L. Davisson from Cornell University.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

A Better Way to Help High-Risk Pregnant Smokers

Posted by Sun on June 30, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2012) — Cigarette smoking among drug dependent pregnant women is alarmingly high, estimated at 77 to 99%. Programs that treat pregnant patients for substance use disorders often fail to address cigarette smoking despite the clear risks to both mother and child, including ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, low birth weight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, programs to help people quit smoking do not seem to interfere with drug abuse treatment, and may actually improve drug abstinence rates.

One of the most effective methods of helping people to quit smoking is contingency management, which gives smokers monetary incentives for meeting target goals. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Addiction and Pregnancy recently used contingency management to shape smoking reduction and abstinence in drug-dependent pregnant women, with promising results.

One hundred and three pregnant smokers who were prescribed methadone maintenance for heroin dependence were enrolled in a study comparing three conditions. A third of the women were enrolled in a contingency management shaping program and received escalating monetary incentives for reducing their level of cigarette smoking or by being abstinent as measured by breath carbon monoxide levels. The smoking reduction targets required for monetary incentives increased over time from minimal reduction in the early phases of treatment to the requirement of total abstinence by week 12. A relapse meant no monetary incentive was earned and the participant returned to the lowest level of payment. A third of the women could earn incentives for reduced smoking according to a schedule of payments not connected to the woman’s own smoking behaviour (non-contingent incentives). The final group of women received information about the risks of smoking during pregnancy but received no money for reduced smoking.

All of the groups showed some reduction in smoking levels during the experiment, but the women in the contingency management group greatly outperformed the two other groups. Nearly half of the contingency management women met the target of 75% reduction at least once, and a third of them met criteria for smoking abstinence (100% reduction) at least once by week 12. In contrast, none of the other condition participants met the abstinence criteria and only 2% of participants met the 75% reduction target during the study period.

The benefits of contingency management carried on after the experiment. The women in the contingent group had fewer pre-term births (17%, compared with 25% and 29% in the other two groups) and fewer babies with low birth weight (20%, compared with 38% and 43%), and they reported less smoking in the weeks after birth.

The results of the study indicate that contingency management programs are an effective way to reduce smoking in the hard-to-treat population of drug-dependent pregnant women.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Quit Smoking: Pre-Cessation Patch Doubles Quit Success Rate

Posted by Sun on June 22, 2012

ScienceDaily (July 9, 2009) — Using a nicotine patch before quitting smoking can double success rates, according to Duke University Medical Center researchers. They say their latest data suggest changes should be made to nicotine patch labeling.

“Right now, the nicotine patch is only recommended for use after the quit date,” explains Jed Rose, director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Research and lead author of the paper that is published online in the current issue of the journalNicotine and Tobacco Research.

The current labeling resulted from concerns that using a patch while smoking could lead to nicotine overdose. However, a literature review found concurrent use of a nicotine patch and cigarette smoking appears to be safe.

“People who use the patch before quitting are likely to spontaneously reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke because the patch satisfies their need for nicotine and makes the act of smoking less enjoyable,” he says. It also decreases withdrawal symptoms.

“Yet people are afraid to try a pre-cessation patch because the current labeling recommends users not smoke while on treatment,” Rose says. “That’s why our study is so important. It reinforces the findings of previous studies, which show the value of pre-cessation patch therapy, and demonstrates that using a pre-cessation nicotine patch can make a significant difference in a person’s ability to quit.”

Nearly 25 percent of the population continues to smoke despite the known health risks, according to previously published research. And, up to 90 percent of smokers who receive nicotine replacement therapy relapse within one year.

In an effort to find a successful smoking cessation method, Rose and his colleagues randomized 400 people who smoked an average of slightly more than one pack of cigarettes per day. They were put in four groups who either used a nicotine or placebo patch for two weeks prior to quitting smoking. They were further randomized to smoking their regular brand of cigarettes or a low-tar and nicotine cigarette. Following the quit date, all groups received standard nicotine patch treatment at reduced dosages for a total of 10 weeks.

Twenty-two percent of participants in the pre-cessation nicotine patch groups abstained from smoking continuously for at least 10 weeks, compared to 11 percent in the placebo patch groups.

Although participants who smoked their usual brand fared no better or worse than those who smoked a low-tar cigarette, Rose says switching to a low-tar and nicotine cigarette may circumvent any potential safety or tolerability issues that could occur in some smokers.

Rose also believes similar pre-cessation intervention may work for other drugs used for smoking cessation, but more research is needed to support that hypothesis.

More importantly, Rose says the use of the pre-cessation patch is significant because it helps researchers predict people’s subsequent quit success. “People on the patch are more likely to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke. We found that is a potent predictor of subsequent abstinence. Smokers who did not reduce their smoking on the patch were less likely to succeed.”

That’s the subject of his new research efforts.

“By monitoring pre-cessation patch smoking levels, we may be able to rescue people who aren’t going to succeed. If the smoker is not spontaneously decreasing the number of cigarettes they are smoking, we may be able to find a different treatment that will work for them rather than letting them stay on an ineffective treatment and fail. ”

This research was supported by a grant from Phillip Morris USA; the company had no role in the planning and execution of the study, data analysis or publication of the results. Jed Rose is one of the inventors of the nicotine patch and received royalties in the past from sales of certain nicotine patches.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Smoking-Cessation ‘Quitlines’ Could Help Identify Hazardous Drinkers

Posted by Sun on June 19, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2012) — Although numerous studies have shown a strong link between drinking and smoking behaviors, few telephone smoking-cessation “quitlines” routinely screen and counsel callers about their alcohol use. A first-of-its-kind study of drinking and smoking-cessation rates among callers to the New York State Smokers’ Quitline (NYSSQL) has found that a high proportion of the smokers calling also drank at hazardous levels, and these high-level drinking smokers had more difficulty quitting smoking than moderate drinking smokers.

Results will be published in the September 2012 issue ofAlcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Quitlines provide telephone-based treatment services for smokers who want assistance quitting,” explained Benjamin A. Toll, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. “All quitlines offer counseling and self-help materials. About 75 percent of quitlines also offer free medications.”

“Quitlines have a broad reach, serving about a half a million smokers in the US each year, and are able to reach populations of smokers that would otherwise be difficult to provide services to,” added Christopher Kahler, professor of behavioral and social sciences at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. “They are a remarkable success story in taking tested treatment methods, validating them for use in a new format, and disseminating this approach very broadly. Quitlines are available in all 50 states and are common in Europe, Canada, and elsewhere.”

Toll said that his group chose the NYSSQL for study because he had worked with the quitline for more than five years on various research projects. “It is one of the busiest quitlines in the country — receiving [more than] 100,000 contacts for assistance in 2010 — and is committed to researching innovative treatments to help smokers quit.”

Toll and his colleagues assessed rates of hazardous drinking among 88,479 (53.2% female) callers to the NYSSQL using modified guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The study authors also collected data during two routine follow-up interviews (n=14,123, n=24,579), and a three-month follow-up interview (n=2,833), in order to compare smoking-cessation rates for callers who met criteria for hazardous drinking as compared to moderate drinkers and non-drinkers.

“Our strongest finding was that in a large sample of smokers — almost 90,000 individuals — a relatively high proportion, almost 23 percent, drank at government-defined hazardous drinking levels,” said Toll. “This is the first study to assess prevalence of hazardous alcohol use in a quitline population of smokers.”

“In other words, this study demonstrated that hazardous drinking occurs in almost one out of four quitline callers and can interfere with efforts to quit smoking,” said Kahler. “The results provide powerful documentation that there are a large number of heavy drinkers who could be served through the quitline system if assessments and brief alcohol intervention were made a part of the quitline protocols.”

While the high proportion of smokers who were hazardous drinkers surprised neither Toll nor Kahler, they both said the reasons for this association are varied.

“There are many potential contributing factors,” said Kahler. “First, those who drink heavily may have more disrupted lives and more psychosocial stressors. They are likely to have a higher proportion of smokers in their social networks. Finally, drinking alcohol can lead to cravings to smoke, and high levels of drinking may make it more difficult to inhibit smoking behavior during a quit attempt. Results from prior work I have done suggests that heavy drinkers are generally equally motivated to quit smoking as moderate drinkers.”

Both Toll and Kahler said that this study highlights a novel way to reach a very large number of hazardous drinkers to assist them in reducing their alcohol consumption.

“Brief alcohol interventions for as short as five minutes have been shown to reduce rates of hazardous drinking,” said Toll. “It would be relatively straightforward for quitlines to add in a counseling module specific to hazardous drinkers. In fact, we just completed data collection for a study testing the effect of adding a brief alcohol intervention to standard NY quitline smoking cessation treatment for hazardous drinking smokers. We expect the results of that study to be forthcoming within the year.”

“The standard advice is to recommend that smokers avoid drinking alcohol as much as possible when quitting,” added Kahler. “However, that advice is not very detailed. Our approach in clinical trials has been to provide information on the association between drinking and smoking relapse, assess drinking patterns and their association with quitting, and assess smokers’ willingness to avoid or reduce drinking when quitting. After that, it is important to help smokers set concrete goals for their drinking and to check in on those goals at each session.” That said, he noted, “we have found that even those smokers who make a quit attempt and fail are often able to maintain reductions in drinking.”

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Never Too Late to Quit: Quitting Smoking Reduces Mortality, Even in Older Patients

Posted by Sun on June 12, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 11, 2012) — An analysis of available medical literature suggests smoking was linked to increased mortality in older patients and that smoking cessation was associated with reduced mortality at an older age, according to a report published in the June 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.

Smoking is a known risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, however, the epidemiological evidence mostly relies on studies conducted among middle-aged adults, according to the study background.

“We provide a thorough review and meta-analysis of studies assessing the impact of smoking on all-cause mortality in people 60 years and older, paying particular attention to the strength of the association by age, the impact of smoking cessation at older age, and factors that might specifically affect results of epidemiological studies on the impact of smoking in an older population,” Carolin Gellert and her colleagues from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany, note in the study.

The authors identified 17 studies from seven countries (the U.S., China, Australia, Japan, England, Spain and France) that were published between 1987 and 2011. The follow-up time of the studies ranged from 3 to 50 years and the size of the study populations ranged from 863 to 877,243 participants.

In summarizing the results from the 17 studies, the authors note an 83 percent increased relative mortality for current smokers and a 34 percent increased relative mortality for former smokers compared with never smokers.

“In this review and meta-analysis on the association of smoking and all-cause mortality at older age, current and former smokers showed an approximately 2-fold and 1.3-fold risk for mortality, respectively,” the authors note. “This review and meta-analysis demonstrates that the relative risk for death notably decreases with time since smoking cessation even at older age.”

This analysis was conducted in the context of the CHANCES project funded in the FP7 Framework Programme of DG-RESEARCH in the European Commission. The project is coordinated by the Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Invited Commentary: Risk of Tobacco Deaths

In a commentary, Tai Hing Lam, M.D., of the University of Hong Kong, writes: “Most smokers grossly underestimate their own risks. Many older smokers misbelieve that they are too old to quit or too old to benefit from quitting.”

“Because of reverse causality and from seeing deaths of old friends who had quit recently, some misbelieve that quitting could be harmful. A simple, direct, strong and evidence-based warning is needed,” Lam continues.

“If you have helped two smokers quit, you have saved (at least) one life,” the author concludes.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Non-Smokers Put On Less Weight, Study Suggests

Posted by Sun on May 25, 2012

ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2010) — A new study links nicotine poisoning with weight gain, and concludes that active smokers, not only those who stop, put on more weight than non-smokers. After four years of analysis in the University of Navarra, those who put on least weight were those who had never smoked.

From now on we will have to question the myth that smoking makes you slimmer. Researchers from the Department of Preventative Medicine at the University of Navarra (UNAV) have evaluated the link between the two cardiovascular risk factors: the ‘nicotine habit’ and the increase in weight when smokers stop the habit and when they continue smoking.

The results, now published in theRevista Española de Cardiología, “are crucial for considering prevention programmes,” Francisco Javier Basterra-Gortari, main author of the study and researcher at UNAV, said.

The data, resulting from an analysis of 7565 people over 50 months, is based on age, sex, initial body mass index and lifestyles (sedentarism, changes in physical activity, energy/fibre intake, snacks between meals and consumption of fizzy drinks, fast food and alcohol).

Weight gain in people who stopped smoking during the study was higher the more cigarettes they smoked a day when the investigation began. Those who continued smoking also gained more weight during this period than the non-smokers.

The authors confirm that nicotine addiction is not an effective way of preventing obesity. “In fact the increase is demonstrated, especially in ex-smokers and in smokers who continue,” highlights Basterra-Gortari.

 

A dangerous connection

 

The association between being overweight and nicotine addiction is especially harmful for cardiovascular health. Therefore, abandoning the nicotine habit has been linked to a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and cancer. However, experts argue that weight gain after stopping smoking is, often, a reason for not quitting the nicotine addiction, especially among women.

Most of the investigations that have studied this link have observed that, although there is an increase in weight after stopping smoking, there are notable variations in weight gain.

“In Spain, there are very few studies on this link,” concludes the researcher, who believes that “more extensive studies can confirm the results and extrapolate them to other sectors of the population.”

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Common Anxiety Disorders Make It Tougher to Quit Cigarettes

Posted by Sun on May 25, 2012

ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2010) — Researchers may have pinpointed a reason many smokers struggle to quit. According to new research published in the journal Addiction, smokers with a history of anxiety disorders are less likely to quit smoking. The study, conducted by the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention (UW-CTRI), offered free coaching and medications to smokers in Madison and Milwaukee.

While overall quit rates for the study were high, participants with anxiety diagnoses were much less likely to quit smoking.

Study results also showed that anxiety diagnoses were very common among participants — more than a third of them met criteria for at least one anxiety diagnosis in their lifetime. Out of all 1,504 study participants, 455 had had a panic attack in the past, 199 social anxiety disorder, and 99 generalized anxiety disorder (some reported having more than one diagnoses). Other research has shown that up to 25 percent of the more than 50 million smokers in the U.S. had at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. And yet, very little research has addressed smoking in this population.

Lead author Megan Piper says it surprised her that the nicotine lozenge and patch — alone or in combination — failed to help patients with an anxiety history to quit smoking. In the general population, the lozenge and patch — especially when combined — have been very effective in helping patients quit smoking. Bupropion (Zyban) alone, or in combination with the nicotine lozenge, also did not increase cessation rates among patients with a history of anxiety disorders.

“Further research is needed to identify better counseling and medication treatments to help patients with anxiety disorders to quit smoking,” Piper says.

Smokers in the study with anxiety disorders also reported higher levels of nicotine dependence and withdrawal symptoms prior to quitting. Smokers often experience craving, negative feelings and difficulty concentrating in the minutes or hours after finishing a cigarette, and those feelings can be heightened simply because the smokers know they’re about to attempt to quit. In addition, participants with a history of panic attacks or social-anxiety disorder experienced more negative feelings on their quit day than did smokers in the study without this history.

These findings suggest that clinicians should assess anxiety-disorder status when helping patients quit smoking. While anxiety medications alone haven’t boosted cessation rates, Piper is planning further research to test other quit-smoking counseling interventions and medications with patients who have had an anxiety diagnosis.

In the meantime, all smokers can call the national tobacco quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free, confidential coaching and support to quit smoking.

Posted in Addictions and Habits, Depression, Bipolar and Anxiety | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Hypnotherapy For Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results

Posted by Sun on May 24, 2012

ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2007) — Hospitalized patients who smoke may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than patients using other smoking cessation methods. A new study*  shows that smoking patients who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers at 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alone or patients who quit “cold turkey”. The study also shows that patients admitted to the hospital with a cardiac diagnosis are three times more likely to quit smoking at 6 months than patients admitted with a pulmonary diagnosis.

“Our results showed that hypnotherapy resulted in higher quit rates compared with NRT alone,” said Faysal Hasan, MD, FCCP, North Shore Medical Center, Salem, MA. “Hypnotherapy appears to be quite effective and a good modality to incorporate into a smoking cessation program after hospital discharge.”

Dr. Hasan and colleagues from North Shore Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital compared the quit rates of 67 smoking patients hospitalized with a cardiopulmonary diagnosis. All patients were approached about smoking cessation and all included in the study were patients who expressed a desire to quit smoking.

At discharge, patients were divided into four groups based on their preferred method of smoking cessation treatment: hypnotherapy (n=14), NRT (n=19), NRT and hypnotherapy (n=18), and a group of controls who preferred to quit “cold turkey” (n=16). All patients received self-help brochures. The control group received brief counseling, but other groups received intensive counseling, free supply of NRT and/or a free hypnotherapy session within 7 days of discharge, as well as follow up telephone calls at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 26 weeks after discharge. Patients receiving hypnotherapy also were taught to do self-hypnosis and were given tapes to play at the end of the session.

At 26 weeks after discharge, 50 percent of patients treated with hypnotherapy alone were nonsmokers, compared with 50 percent in the NRT/hypnotherapy group, 25 percent in the control group, and 15.78 percent in the NRT group. Patients admitted with a cardiac diagnosis were more likely to quit smoking at 26 weeks (45.5 percent) than patients admitted with a pulmonary diagnosis (15.63 percent).

“Patients admitted with coronary symptoms may have experienced ‘fear and doom’ and decided to alter a major health risk to their disease when approached about smoking cessation,” said Dr. Hasan. “In contrast, pulmonary patients admitted for another exacerbation may not have felt the same threat. They likely felt they can live for another day and continue the smoking habit.”

The researchers note that hospitalization is an important opportunity to intervene among patients who smoke.

“Doctors and other health personnel should use this occasion to firmly recommend smoking cessation and emphasize the impact of smoking on their disease process and hospital admission,” said Dr. Hasan. “Pulmonologists, in particular, should make a stronger case and more passionate message to their patients, and efforts should be coordinated with counseling.”

“As physicians, we are constantly reviewing new approaches for smoking cessation and revisiting existing approaches to confirm their effectiveness,” said Alvin V. Thomas, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. “The results of this study and many others confirm that using a multimodality approach to smoking cessation is optimal for success.”

This study as presented at Chest 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Posted in Addictions and Habits, CBT and Hypnotherapy | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Emotional Intelligence And The Use Of Tobacco And Cannabis

Posted by Sun on May 23, 2012

ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2007) — The term Emotional Intelligence could be defined as the capacity to perceive, comprehend and regulate one’s own emotions and those of others so as to be able to distinguish between emotions and use this information as a guide for one’s thoughts and actions. One of the important benefits of developing this type of intelligence is the ability to learn how to interact with others and to face an ever changing social and cultural world more effectively.

The Stress and Health Research Group (GIES) of the UAB Department of General, Development and Educational Psychology has carried out a research entitled “Perceived emotional intelligence and its relation to tobacco and cannabis use among university students”.The objective of this research consisted in analysing the possible relation between EI and the use of tobacco and cannabis among 133 UAB psychology students with an average age of 21.5.

According to the research, students who had started smoking either tobacco or cannabis at a younger age and who regularly smoked these substances obtained lower scores in questions related to emotional regulation. Thus students who are less able to regulate their emotional state are more tempted to consume tobacco and/or cannabis and regular consumption of these substances is a way of making up for this emotional shortage.

The level of emotional comprehension also seems to be related to the sporadic use of cannabis, since those who consumed less were the ones who scored highest in this category. In other words, young people who clearly comprehend the emotions they are experiencing, together with the situations in which they appear, are also those who consume less amounts of cannabis.

The study however did not reveal any relation between emotional perception and the use of these substances.

The results of the study indicate that a relation exists between some EI components and the use of tobacco and/or cannabis. Personal abilities are a key element in adapting to the demands of each person’s surroundings and, in addition to actions addressed to preventing first contacts with drugs and their consolidation among people, developing one’s EI could help prevent teenagers from the temptation of taking drugs.

Posted in Addictions and Habits, CBT and Hypnotherapy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Increased Risk Of Smoking, Substance Abuse In Bipolar Adolescents Confirmed

Posted by Sun on May 23, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2008) — A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) supports previous reports that adolescents with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for smoking and substance abuse. The article appearing in the June Drug and Alcohol Dependence — describing the largest such investigation to date and the first to include a control group — also indicates that bipolar-associated risk is independent of the risk conferred by other disorders affecting study participants.

“This work confirms that bipolar disorder (BPD) in adolescents is a huge risk factor for smoking and substance abuse, as big a risk factor as is juvenile delinquency,” says Timothy Wilens, MD, director of Substance Abuse Services in MGH Pediatric Psychopharmacology, who led the study. “It indicates both that young people with BPD need to carefully be screened for smoking and for substance use and abuse and that adolescents known to abuse drugs and alcohol — especially those who binge use — should also be assessed for BPD.”

It has been estimated that up to 20 percent of children and adolescents treated for psychiatric problems have bipolar disorder, and there is evidence that pediatric and adolescent BPD may have features, such as particularly frequent and dramatic mood swings, not found in the adult form of the disorder.

While elevated levels of smoking and substance abuse previously have been reported in young and adult BPD patients, it has not been clear how the use and abuse of substances relates to the presence of BPD or whether any increased risk could be attributed to co-existing conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder or anxiety disorders.

The current study analyzes extensive data — including family histories, information from primary care physicians, and a detailed psychiatric interview — gathered at the outset of a continuing investigation following a group of young BPD patients into adulthood. In addition to 105 participants with diagnosed BPD, who enrolled at an average age of 14, the study includes 98 control participants of the same age, carefully screened to rule out mood disorders.

Incidence of each measure — alcohol abuse or dependence, drug abuse or dependence, and smoking — was significantly higher in participants with BPD than in the control group.

Overall, rates of substance use/abuse were 34 percent in the bipolar group and 4 percent in controls. When adjusted to account for co-occurring behavioral and psychiatric conditions, the results still indicated significantly higher risk in the bipolar group. Analyzing how the onset of bipolar symptoms related to when substance abuse began, revealed that BPD came first in most study participants.

The data also indicated that bipolar youth whose symptoms began in adolescence were more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than were those whose symptoms began in childhood. “It could be that the onset of mood dysregulation in adolescence puts kids at even higher risk for poor judgement and self-medication of their symptoms,” Wilens says. “It also could be that some genetic switch activated in adolescence turns on both BPD and substance abuse in these youngsters. That’s something that we are currently investigating in genetic and neuroimaging studies of this group.”

He adds that clarifying whether bipolar disorder begins before substance abuse starts could have “a huge impact. If BPD usually precedes substance abuse, there may be intervention points where we could reduce its influence on drug and alcohol abuse.

Aggressive treatment of BPD could cut the risk of substance abuse, just as we have shown it does in ADHD.” Wilens is an associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The National Institute of Mental Health is supporting the long-term study of bipolar youth of which this report is one phase. Co-authors of the Drug and Alcohol Dependence article are Joseph Biederman, MD, Joel Adamson, Aude Henin, Stephanie Sgambati, Robert Sawtelle, Alison Santry and Michael Monuteaux, ScD, MGH Pediatric Psychopharmacology; and Martin Gignac, MD, University of Montreal.

Posted in Addictions and Habits, Depression, Bipolar and Anxiety | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Low Dopamine Levels During Withdrawal Promote Relapse to Smoking

Posted by Sun on May 22, 2012

ScienceDaily (Feb. 8, 2012) — Mark Twain said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Many smokers would agree that it’s difficult to stay away from cigarettes. A new study in Biological Psychiatrythis month now suggests that low dopamine levels that occur as a result of withdrawal from smoking actually promote the relapse to smoking.

Dopamine is a brain chemical messenger that is critically important in reward and motivation. Some research suggests that one of its central roles is to send a signal to the brain to ‘seek something enjoyable’. Indeed, dopamine is released during many rewarding experiences, including taking drugs, smoking, having sex, and eating food.

This signal seems to depend on the dopamine which is released in response to environmental cues, called phasic release, as opposed to the tonic seepage of small amounts of dopamine from nerve cells. The tonic release of dopamine is implicated in helping the dopamine system set the level of its reactivity to inputs.

Since dopamine is released by smoking, it makes sense that dopamine levels become abnormal when a smoker chooses to stop smoking. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas undertook their study to characterize these changes.

They studied mice that were administered nicotine, the active constituent of cigarettes, for several weeks. The researchers then withheld the nicotine and measured the subsequent alterations in dopamine signaling during the withdrawal period.

They reported that withdrawal from nicotine produced a deficit in dopamine in which the basal dopamine concentration and tonic dopamine signals were disproportionately lower than the phasic dopamine signals. Re-exposure to nicotine reversed the hypodopaminergic state.

“This study is an elegant example of yet another way that addiction ‘hijacks’ the reward system. The phasic release of dopamine triggers us to seek things that, in theory, help us to adapt to our environment,” commented Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry. “However, in addiction the phasic release of dopamine is heightened and it triggers the pursuit of abused substances. This disturbance of dopamine function would, conceivably, make it that much harder to avoid seeking drugs of abuse.”

According to the authors, these findings indicate that medications which could help elevate tonic dopamine levels during withdrawal may be successful treatment strategies for nicotine-dependent individuals attempting to quit smoking. Theoretically, such a treatment could help normalize any fluctuating dopamine levels from the sudden lack of nicotine, and also lessen the dopamine-influenced urges to seek out the nicotine, leading to relapse.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Smell Of Smoke Does Not Trigger Relapse In Quitters, New Research Shows

Posted by Sun on May 22, 2012

ScienceDaily (Oct. 17, 2008) — Research into tobacco dependence published in the November issue of Addiction, has shown that recent ex-smokers who find exposure to other people’s cigarette smoke pleasant are not any more likely to relapse than those who find it unpleasant.

Led by Dr Hayden McRobbie and Professor Peter Hajek of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, researchers examined the hypothesis that those who find the smell of smoke pleasant are more likely to relapse than those who have a neutral or negative reaction to it. Surprisingly, they concluded that finding the smell of other people’s cigarettes pleasant does not make abstaining smokers any more likely to relapse.

The researchers studied a group of over a thousand smokers receiving smoking cessation treatment at the East London Smokers Clinic. During their six weeks of treatment (two weeks prior to quitting and four weeks afterwards) the smokers completed a weekly questionnaire that measured the severity of their withdrawal discomfort, and also asked them to rate how pleasant they found the smell of other people’s cigarettes during the past week.

The results showed that during their first week of abstinence, 23 per cent of respondents found the smell of other people’s cigarette smoke pleasant. Finding the cigarette smoke pleasant was not related to smoking status in the following week.

Lead author Dr Hayden McRobbie says, “Recent quitters can be reassured that finding the smell of cigarette smoke pleasant is not likely to lead them back to smoking.”

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Exercise Makes Cigarettes Less Attractive To Smokers

Posted by Sun on May 22, 2012

ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2009) — Exercise can help smokers quit because it makes cigarettes less attractive. A new study from the University of Exeter shows for the first time that exercise can lessen the power of cigarettes and smoking-related images to grab the attention of smokers.

The study is published in the journalAddiction.

The study involved 20 moderately heavy smokers, who had abstained from cigarettes for 15 hours before the trial. During two visits to our laboratory participants began by being shown smoking-related and neutral images, and then spent either 15 minutes sitting or exercising on a stationary bike at a moderate intensity. Afterwards, they were again shown the images.

While the participants were shown the images, the research team used the latest eye tracking technology to measure and record their precise eye movements. They were able to show not only the length of time people looked at smoking-related images but also how quickly pictures of cigarettes could grab their attention, compared with non-smoking matched images.

The study showed an 11% difference between the time the participants spent looking at the smoking-related images after exercise, compared with the after sitting. Also, after exercise, participants took longer to look at smoking-related images. Exercise, therefore, appears to reduce the power of the smoking-related images to grab visual attention.

Numerous studies have shown that a single session of light to moderate intensity exercise, for example five-15 minutes of brisk walking, can reduce cravings and responses to smoking cues. This is the first time eye-tracking technology has been used to show that exercise can reduce interest in and salience of smoking cues that, outside the laboratory, may cause lapses and relapse among smokers trying to quit.

Lead author, University of Exeter PhD student Kate Janse Van Rensburg said: “We know that smoking-related images can be powerful triggers for smokers who are abstaining. While we are no longer faced with advertisements for cigarettes, smokers are still faced with seeing people smoking on television, in photographs or in person. We know that this makes it more difficult for them to quit.

“Because of this, it’s very exciting to find that just a short burst of exercise can somewhat reduce the power of such images. It is not clear if longer or more vigorous bouts of exercise have a bigger effect. This study adds to the growing evidence that exercise can be a great help for people trying to give up smoking.”


Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Researchers Create a Healthier Cigarette

Posted by Sun on May 22, 2012

ScienceDaily (Jan. 3, 2012) — From a health care perspective, the best cigarette is no cigarette, but for the millions of people who try to quit smoking every year, researchers from Cornell University may have found a way to make cigarette smoking less toxic.

Using natural antioxidant extracts in cigarette filters, the researchers were able to demonstrate that lycopene and grape seed extract drastically reduced the amount of cancer-causing free radicals passing through the filter.

The research will be the 1500th article published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), the only peer-reviewed, PubMed indexed video-journal.

“The implications of this technique can help reduce the hazardous effects of tobacco smoke,” said Dr. Boris Dzilkovski, who co-authored the paper, “because free radicals are a major group of carcinogens.”

Scientists have tried to make safer cigarettes in the past. Haemoglobin (which transports oxygen in red blood cells) and activated carbon have been shown to reduce free-radicals in smoke by up to 90 percent, but because of the cost, the combination has not been successfully introduced to the market.

“Practically, this research could lead to an alternative type of cigarette filter with a free radical scavenging additive,” said Kolski-Andreaco, JoVE Content Director. “It could lead to a less harmful cigarette.”

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Helping Latinos Quit Smoking: Studies Offers New Insight

Posted by Sun on May 20, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 3, 2011) — Latinos looking to quit smoking are more successful when they have a significant other and partner support, say researchers from The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. According to the study, published in the May/June issue of theAmerican Journal of Health Promotion, this support can also buffer the demonstrated negative effect that depression can have on smoking cessation.

Latinos are the largest, fastest growing minority population in the country, based on U.S. Census data. Smoking prevalence among Latinos is 15.8 percent and is even higher among those who are more adapted to U.S. culture. Overall, Cubans have the highest rates of smoking, followed by American-born Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Central and South Americans, immigrant Mexicans and Dominicans.

Although previous research suggests that social support appears to facilitate smoking cessation, other factors, such as depressed mood, can hinder those efforts, since depression and depressive symptoms are associated with lower likelihood of quitting. Given that Latinos have slightly higher rates of depressive symptoms compared to other racial or ethnic groups, they may have particular difficulty quitting smoking.

The study included 131 Latino smokers who have children with asthma. The majority of participants were Puerto Rican (52 percent), Dominican (23 percent) and Central American (11 percent), while nearly three-quarters were female. Participants reported smoking an average of 10.8 cigarettes per day with an average of three quit attempts.

Overall, approximately 46 percent of participants reported having a significant other, defined as being married, engaged or living together. Questionnaires determined their perceived levels of social support, which was defined as having someone to talk to about their problems, people with whom they can do things, tangible or material support and self-esteem support. Participants also reported on perceived supportive and non-supportive smoking cessation-related behaviors from their significant others. A separate assessment measured participants’ levels of depression and depressive mood.

Approximately 30 percent of participants with a partner quit smoking compared to 14.3 percent of those without a partner. More than 43 percent of those with high levels of perceived partner support quit smoking, versus 17.4 percent of participants with low levels.

“Simply having a partner, regardless of the type of support they offer, may be important to Latino smokers who are trying to quit smoking,” said Belinda Borrelli, Ph.D., senior author on the study and a psychologist with The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.

The study also examined whether or not having a partner buffered the effect of depressed mood on quitting smoking. Among smokers without a partner, quit rates were higher for those with low levels of depressed mood (37 percent) than those with high levels of depressed mood (9 percent). Depressive symptoms did not affect quitting smoking among those with a partner. According to researchers, this finding suggests that simply having a partner, regardless of whether that partner offers positive or negative support, buffers the effect of depressive symptoms on smoking cessation.

“Latino smokers who are depressed and/or those without a partner may need to be connected to additional supportive resources to successfully quit smoking,” says Borrelli. Although she says the study provides a first step in exploring possible factors — such as social support and depression — that may either help or hinder smoking cessation, future research is needed to discover ways to capitalize on the social context of Latinos to promote smoking cessation.

Are there differences in smoking behavior and attitudes among Puerto Rican, Dominican and non-white Latino smokers?

In a related study, also published in the May/June issue of theAmerican Journal of Health Promotion, Borrelli and colleagues set out to determine whether smoking behavior and attitudes differ among Puerto Ricans and Dominicans and if so, how do they compare to non-Latino whites (or Caucasians).

Researchers focused their study on 225 smokers who are also caregivers of children with asthma. They examined smokers’ motivation to quit, risk perception, social support, depressed mood and perceived stress because these factors are associated with poor smoking cessation outcomes among the majority population.

“No studies have examined the differences in smoking attitudes and behavior between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans,” said Borrelli. “Exploring differences between these two subgroups as well as how each differs from non-Latino whites is important for determining whether smoking cessation interventions developed for the majority population are relevant to specific Latino populations.”

Overall, researchers say there were important differences between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans compared to each other and with non-Latino whites that make it less likely that evidence-based treatments that are effective for the majority of adult smokers will be equally effective for Latinos, suggesting the need for cultural adaptation of smoking cessation treatments for Latinos.

Borrelli and colleagues also note that Puerto Ricans appear to have more factors associated with risk of smoking cessation treatment failure, such as less motivation and confidence to quit, lower levels of social support, and greater levels of U.S. acculturation and depressed mood. On the other hand, Dominicans appear to have the most protective factors among the three groups to facilitate quitting, including low nicotine dependence and high motivation to quit, and they also identified more negative consequences of smoking.

Only 13.3 percent of Dominicans lived with another smoker, compared to 35.8 percent of Puerto Ricans. 60% of Dominicans had a household ban on smoking, versus 44.8% of Puerto Rican smokers.

“Although it may not be feasible to have numerous smoking cessation treatments for different subgroups, we found meaningful differences between subgroups that could be used in treatment tailoring,” said Borrelli. “We need to examine the role of these smoking attitudes as potential moderators and mediators of smoking behavior in order to guide the cultural adaptation of evidence-based treatments.”

Both studies were funded by grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Smoke Free Families Initiative to Borrelli. Brittany M. Brothers, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University, co-authored the paper titled Motivating Latino Smokers to Quit: Does Type of Support Matter? Co-authors of the second paper, Differences in Smoking Behavior and Attitudes among Puerto Rican, Dominican and Non-Latino White Caregivers of Children with Asthma, included Elizabeth McQuaid, Ph.D., from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center; Kristin Gregor, Ph.D., of The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine; Rashelle B. Hayes, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School; and Christina S. Lee, Ph.D., of the Center for Alcohol & Addiction at Brown University and the Institute on Urban Health Research at Northeastern University.

Posted in Addictions and Habits, CBT and Hypnotherapy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Quitting Smoking by Fariborz Arbasi

Posted by Sun on May 15, 2012

A man in his forties arrived and said, “Do you have a drug for smoking cessation too?”

I said, “Yes”.

“Is smoking cessation easy with that drug?” He said

I said, “ To change any habit can be easy or difficult! It depends to method. I give you a prescription, if you use it correctly; you can quit smoking easily. You take zyban until two weeks, whenever you feel your desire to smoke has been reduced, inform me.”

After one week he come and said, “My desire has been reduced.” I said, “you can stop smoking, whenever you feel anxiety take zanax, when you could tolerate anxiety without medication, inform me.”

At last session, I said him, “The urges are like dog and cut, whenever they feel the smell of food, come to you. Every time you cope with them, they become weaker and paler and gradually disappear.

After six months, his brother came to office for quitting smoking.

Other stories

INNER WISDOM

Blinking

Posted in Addictions and Habits, Stories and Quotes | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

More Than One in Five Pregnant White Women Smoke Cigarettes

Posted by Sun on May 14, 2012

ScienceDaily (May 10, 2012) — A new report shows that 21.8 percent of pregnant White women aged 15 to 44 currently (within the past 30 days) smoked cigarettes. The study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also showed that cigarette smoking levels among pregnant White women were significantly higher than the levels among pregnant Black women (14.2 percent) and pregnant Hispanic women (6.5 percent) in the same 15 to 44 age range.

In terms of current illicit drug use, however, the report found that the rate among pregnant Black women (7.7 percent) was significantly higher than among pregnant White women (4.4 percent) and pregnant Hispanic women (3.1 percent).

The rate of current alcohol use among pregnant Black and White women is roughly the same (12.8 percent and 12.2 percent respectively), but their levels were substantially higher than pregnant Hispanic women (7.4 percent)

Overall, pregnant Hispanic women in this age range were less likely to use alcohol and cigarettes than pregnant Black and White women.

“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse.”

SAMHSA’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence sponsors a number of state-of-the-art programs for addressing the problem of substance abuse among pregnant women. These programs include:

Project CHOICES — Reaches out to women at risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy before they become pregnant to provide information and help. Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) — Helps identify and provide assistance to people in need of treatment. The program uses a simple written assessment of alcohol use and a 10-15 minute intervention with pregnant women who report drinking. Parent-Child Assistance Program (P-CAP) — The program uses an intensive paraprofessional home visitation model to reduce risk behaviors in women with substance abuse problems over a three-year period.

These programs implement evidence-based interventions and have helped many pregnant women lead healthier lives and improve the outcomes for their children’s health.

The report entitled, Data Spotlight: Substance Use During Pregnancy Varies by Race and Ethnicity, is based on data analyzed from SAMHSA’s 2002-2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). NSDUH is a scientifically conducted annual survey of approximately 67,500 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. Because of its statistical power, it is the nation’s premier source of statistical information on the scope and nature of many substance abuse and behavioral health issues affecting the nation.

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Acupuncture and hypnosis do help smokers quit

Posted by Sun on May 13, 2012

Acupuncture and hypnosis are touted as drug-free ways to help smokers kick the habit, and there is some evidence that they work, according to a new research review.

There are still plenty of questions – including exactly how effective the alternative therapies might be, and how they measure up against standard quit tactics.

But researchers say the alternatives should stand as options for smokers who want them.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Medicine, come from a review of 14 previous clinical trials. Six of those studies tested acupuncture against a “sham” version of the procedure (in which, for example, needles were placed in non-acupuncture points on the skin).

Overall, smokers who got real acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later.
Generally smokers want to quit

Similarly, across four trials of hypnosis, smokers had a higher quit rate with the therapy compared to people who had minimal help – like an educational booklet on kicking the habit.

In general, smokers who want to quit should first try the standard approaches – which include nicotine-replacement therapy, medications and behavioural counselling, according to Dr Mehdi Tahiri of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, who led the review.

“But some people are not interested in medication,” he noted in an interview. And in many other cases, the standard quit therapies do not work.

“Then I think we should definitely recommend (acupuncture and hypnosis) as choices,” Tahiri said.

But there are caveats.

For their analysis, Tahiri said, the researchers tried to select clinical trials that were conducted in similar ways, to get the most reliable results. But the results of the individual trials did differ.

Acupuncture set smokers free

The benefits linked to acupuncture, for example, were largely based on one 2008 study that tested a few sessions of laser acupuncture in 258 smokers. After six months, 55% of smokers who’d received real acupuncture were tobacco-free, versus only 4% of those who’d been given sham acupuncture.

In contrast, a 2007 study from Taiwan looked at needle acupuncture around the ear (the area typically targeted for smoking cessation). Six months later, 9% of the real-acupuncture group had quit, as had 6% of the sham-acupuncture group.

The situation was similar across the hypnosis trials. Two studies showed big effects: 40 to 45% of hypnosis patients were smoke-free six months to a year later. The other two trials showed smaller effects.

Jury still out

Nonetheless, Tahiri said, there was a “trend” toward a benefit across all of the studies of acupuncture and hypnosis.

There are still “definitely questions,” he added, about how many sessions of acupuncture or hypnosis might be necessary, or which specific techniques (needle or laser acupuncture, for example) are best.

Other research reviews have concluded that the jury is still out on alternative therapies for quitting smoking.

The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation that evaluates medical research, recently released reports on hypnosis and acupuncture for smoking cessation (http://bit.ly/KA8fIp). In both cases, the group said there’s not enough evidence the “complementary” therapies work.

The Cochrane reviewers did not dismiss the alternative approaches – saying, rather, they may well be better than nothing.

Benefits of quitting are tremendous

In the real world outside of studies, other issues come up. Depending on where people live, they may not be able to find hypnotherapy or acupuncture designed for smoking cessation.

Tahiri suggested that smokers ask their doctors for referrals to any local therapists. And with acupuncture, he noted, you want to go with a reputable centre that uses sterile equipment.

Then there are the costs – which may range from R2, 800 to R7, 000, Tahiri’s team points out in its report.

On the other hand, Tahiri said, “the benefits of quitting are tremendous,” and smokers should keep trying to find a way that works for them.

Smokers can be cigarette- free

The American Lung Association (ALA) says that although some smokers can successfully quit “cold turkey,” the best bet for most is to try a combination of medication and some type of behavioural counselling.

Medication can mean either over-the-counter nicotine-replacement therapy products or the prescription drugs varenicline (Chantix) or bupropion (Zyban and generics).

Some recent trials have suggested that about 25% of smokers can be cigarette-free at the one-year mark if they get counselling combined with medication.

Even with combination therapies, kicking the smoking habit is often an uphill battle. The ALA estimates that it takes the average smoker five or six serious attempts to finally quit.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/Khhv63

Posted in Addictions and Habits, CBT and Hypnotherapy | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Your Brain On Nicotine: Nicotine Receptors Affect Social Behavior

Posted by Sun on March 20, 2012

ScienceDaily (June 30, 2011) — If you think nicotine receptors are only important to smokers trying to kick the tobacco habit, think again. New research published in the FASEB Journal suggests that these receptors also play an important role in social interaction and the ability to choose between competing motivations. Specifically, scientists from France show that the nicotinic receptors in the prefrontal cortex are essential for social interaction in mice and that this area of the brain is necessary for adapted and balanced social interactions to occur. This new knowledge could one day lead to novel treatments for ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression, among other illnesses.

“One of the main aims would be to understand and help people to make good decisions for themselves (and for others) and to maintain, during old age, such abilities in the social domain as well as in other aspects of our lives,” said Sylvie Granon, a researcher involved in the work from the Université Paris Sud XI and CNRS UMR 8620, Centre de Neurosciences Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.

To make this discovery, Granon and colleagues introduced mice into an open space and tested their will to interact with other mice of the same sex or to explore a novel place. The respective times spent for either social contact or novelty exploration were measured and quantitatively evaluated. Researchers then removed the prefrontal cortex in otherwise normal mice, which resulted in mice with significant social deficits. Those genetically modified to lack the nicotinic receptor gene for a widespread subunit called beta2 subtype, seemed to favor social contact rather than the investigation of a novel environment. When the beta2 nicotinic receptor in the brain was re-expressed, a normal balance between social contact and novelty seeking was restored.

“This research can be summed up by saying that it’s the real-life equivalent of Chatty Cathy marrying the Marlboro Man,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “Who could have guessed that there may be a biological explanation for ‘social butterflies.’ The explanation was found in an area of the brain that for decades has been considered a locus for nicotine addiction.”

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com

Posted in Addictions and Habits | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: