Eyespy: July 2011
Stopping smoking—When it comes to giving up smoking, willpower is everything. But what is “willpower?” Researchers have shown in a small study that the brain activity of former smokers differs from that of smokers, which they think might explain why some find it easier to quit the habit than others (Neuroimage 2011; doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.03.054). Smokers (n=13), ex-smokers (n=10), and people who had never smoked (n=13) had a functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scan while performing tasks designed to assess impulse control and their ability to avoid distraction by smoking-related images. Compared with smokers, ex-smokers had significantly increased activity in prefrontal cortical regions, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, which are involved in controlling behaviour.
Breathe easy—Young patients with cystic fibrosis could benefit from a new type of video game, according to research presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in April (www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110430133119.htm). In a study of 13 cystic fibrosis