Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 65
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825316

Brain plasticity, cognitive functioning and the relationship to treatment outcome in patients with tobacco dependence

O Eichler 1, W Block 2, F Träber 2, F Schildberg 1, G Bopp 1, M Warnecke 1, M Wagner 1, H Schild 2, W Maier 1, CG Schütz 1
  • 1Department of Psychiatry
  • 2Department of Radiology, Friedrich-Wilhelm-University, Bonn, Germany

Tobacco dependence is a complex neurobiological and behavioral phenomenon. Rates of relapse are tremendous. Our clinic offers behaviorally based group therapy in combination with nicotine patches to treat tobacco dependence over a period of six months. In the current study we test, if brain plasticity, as assessed by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and/or cognitive functioning predict relapse within the initial 6 weeks. We measure N-Acetyl-Aspartate, Choline, Creatin in ventral striatum, anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex. Cognitive testing includes executive function, memory and attention. 32 subjects and 11 controls have been examined (We expect 40 smokers and 20 controls). Differences were found in metabolic coefficient for Cholin/Creatin in the frontal cortex, responsible for executive function. Differences between smokers and non-smokers in executive functioning were emerging. A test of memory performance was significantly better in non-smokers. As number of relapse was low, increase in number of subjects and period investigated will increase statistical power and likelihood of finding significant predictors.

The study is funded by BMBF.