Magnetic fields ‘help smokers quit’

Using magnetic fields to alter brain activity may help some people quit smoking, according to an early study. The researchers said they had used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to "undo" nicotine addiction in the brain. The findings, presented at the Neuroscience 2013 conference, suggested the technique could help people cut down or quit completely.
Further trials are needed before it could be recommended as a therapy. TMS stimulates neurons to alter brain function and is already used in some patients with depression.
The team at Ben Gurion University in Israel targeted magnetic fields at two regions of the brain associated with addiction to nicotine – the prefrontal cortex and the insula cortex.
The 115 regular smokers in the study were split into three groups and for 13 days they were given high-frequency TMS, low-frequency TMS or no treatment at all.
Those getting high-frequency TMS had lower levels of smoking and were more likely to have quit at the end of the six-month study.
The highest success came when participants were also shown pictures of a lit cigarette while having the magnetic therapy – a third had quit after six months.
The researchers argue the therapy may be changing the brain’s hardwired response to smoking "cues".