Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are a relatively novel technology, and research on their effects is still quite lacking. Invicro UK (formerly Imanova) scientists recently began to use e-cigarettes as substitutes for real cigarettes in a study of brain activity in smoker’s, using functional MRI (fMRI). Practical and safety issues mean that it is impossible to visualize brain activity during active smoking with traditional cigarettes, however e-cigarettes are usable in the confined space of an MRI scanner. For the first time, the brain activity related to the sensory and behavioral aspects of smoking have been recorded, showing a network of brain regions including the motor cortex and insula, and the putamen; an area previously implicated in reward functions and addiction. This work was presented at the British Neuroscience Association conference in April 2015, and a journal publication is forthcoming.