Chronic cigarette smoking is associated with numerous abnormalities in brain neurobiology, but few studies specifically investigated the chronic effects of smoking (compared to the acute effects of smoking, nicotine administration, or nicotine withdrawal) on cerebral perfusion (i.e.
, blood flow). Predominately middle-aged male (47 ± 11 years of age) smokers (n
= 34) and non-smokers (n
= 27) were compared on regional cortical perfusion measured by continuous arterial spin labeling magnetic resonance studies at 4 Tesla. Smokers showed significantly lower perfusion than non-smokers in the bilateral medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortices, bilateral inferior parietal lobules, bilateral superior temporal gyri, left posterior cingulate, right isthmus of cingulate, and right supramarginal gyrus. Greater lifetime duration of smoking (adjusted for age) was related to lower perfusion in multiple brain regions. The results indicated smokers showed significant perfusion deficits in anterior cortical regions implicated in the development, progression, and maintenance of all addictive disorders. Smokers concurrently demonstrated reduced blood flow in posterior brain regions that show morphological and metabolic aberrations as well as elevated beta amyloid deposition demonstrated by those with early stage Alzheimer disease. The findings provide additional novel evidence of the adverse effects of cigarette smoking on the human brain.
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