Published on August 30th, 2017 | from CAMH

Understanding nicotine dependence using brain imaging

By Maria Tsalenchuk, Research Trainee

Smoking is a leading contributor to preventable deaths in Canada. Out of the 230,000 deaths in Canada each year, 17 per cent were due to smoking. Health Canada reports that 16 per cent of Canadians aged 15 years and older are regular smokers. While the number of smokers has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, more needs to be done to cut smoking rates.

Due to nicotine dependence, smoking is a very difficult habit to kick. Studies have shown that the neurotransmitter dopamine has a role to play in nicotine dependence. In order to improve treatment, we need to learn more about the dopamine receptors in the brain, and how smoking affects them.

Using imaging techniques such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) we can improve our knowledge on the role of dopamine in nicotine dependence. Our group in CAMH’s Translational Addictions Research Lab is carrying out a study linking dopamine receptors in the brain to cigarette craving.

We are looking for healthy participants who smoke regularly and are over 19 years of age. You must be available weekdays. We will use PET and MRI scans to image the brain after abstinence from smoking.

The study will include:

  1. A screening assessment (up to 2 hours)
  2. 2 PET sessions (up to 5 hours each)
  3. 1 MRI session (up to 3 hours)
  4. Regular abstinence checks throughout the study

You will be compensated for your time.

For more information about the study please contact us:

Phone: 416-535-8501 ext. 31536


Website: code: 93KE4FPRC

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