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  Smoking changes brain the same way as drugs
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ContributorChronicler 
Last EditedChronicler  Feb 23, 2007 04:16pm
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CategoryStudy
MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateFriday, February 23, 2007 10:15:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking causes long-lasting changes in the brain similar to changes seen in animals when they are given cocaine, heroin and other addictive drugs, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

A study of the brain tissue of smokers and nonsmokers who had died showed that smokers had the changes, even if they had quit years before, the team at the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported.

"The data show that there are long-lasting chemical changes in the brains of humans," said Michael Kuhar of Emory University in Atlanta, who was not involved in the study.

"The chemical changes alone suggest a physiological basis for nicotine addiction."

A team led by Bruce Hope of NIDA, one of the National Institutes of Health, analyzed levels of two enzymes found inside brain cells known as neurons.

These enzymes help the neurons use chemical signals such as those made by the message-carrying compound dopamine.
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