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UMass Med School Identifies Nicotine Withdrawal Symptom Origins

Monday, November 18, 2013

 

University of Massachusetts Medical School neuroscientist, Andrew R. Tapper, PhD, and colleagues have identified the region of the brain where the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal--such as headaches, anxiety, and irritability--originate. This discovery may be a significant step toward alleviating those symptoms, and allow smokers to more easily kick the habit.

“We were surprised to find that one population of neurons within a single brain region could actually control physical nicotine withdrawal behaviors,” said Dr. Tapper, associate professor of psychiatry and interim director of the Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute at UMass Medical School.

The Tapper lab discovered that physical nicotine withdrawal symptoms are triggered by activation of GABAergic neurons (neurons that secrete GABA, the brain’s predominant inhibitory neurotransmitter), in the interpeduncular nucleus, an area deep in the midbrain that has recently been shown to be involved in nicotine intake. Their study was published in the November 14 issue of the journal Current Biology.

“Most of the work in the field has been focused on the immediate effects of nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco smoke, on reward circuits in the brain,” Tapper explained. “But much less is known regarding what happens when you take nicotine away from someone who has been smoking for a long time that causes all of these terrible withdrawal symptoms. Our main goal was to understand what brain regions are activated—or deactivated—to cause nicotine withdrawal symptoms."

This was accomplished through a series of experiments performed in mice models with sophisticated neurochemistry and brain imaging methods, including recently developed optogenetics techniques in which specific neurons can be activated by light.

Most surprising was their discovery that nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be activated or deactivated independent of nicotine addiction. “When we activated the GABAergic neurons in the interpenduncular nucleus, mice suffered withdrawal symptoms even if they had no previous nicotine exposure,” Tapper noted.

These findings are promising because existing treatments intended to help people quit smoking are not always effective. “There are very few treatments to help people quit smoking,” Tapper said. “If you can dampen the activity of this brain region chemically during nicotine withdrawal then you would hopefully be able to help someone quit smoking because you could reduce some of the withdrawal symptoms that they are experiencing.”

 

Related Slideshow: Check Out The Grades: Massachusetts Hospitals Report Card

A recent survey released by The Leapfrog Group assigns a Hospital Safety Score, using the report card system of A to F to each of the hospitals in Rhode Island. These grades are based on expert analysis of injuries, infections and errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay.

Let's see how each of Massachusetts' hospitals were graded from highest to lowest:

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Addison Gilbert Hospital

Gloucester, MA

 

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Anna Jaques Hospital

Newburyport, RI

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Baystate Franklin Medical Center

Greenfield, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Baystate Medical Center

Springfield, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

 

(Photo: John Phelan, Wikimedia)

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Berkshire Medical Center

Pittsfield, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton

Milton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Beverly Hospital

Beverly, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Boston Medical Center

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Brigham and Women's Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Cambridge Health Alliance: Cambridge

Cambridge, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Cambridge Health Alliance: Whidden

Everett, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Cape Cod Hospital 

Hyannis, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

(Photo: Davee, Flickr)

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Carney Hospital

Dorchester, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Charlton Memorial Hospital: Southcoast Hospitals Group

Fall River, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Emerson Hospital

Concord, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Hallmark Health System: Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford

Medford, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Hallmark Health System: Melrose-Wakefield Hospital

Melrose, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Harrington Memorial Hospital

Southbridge, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Holy Family Hospital

Methuen, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Jordan Hospital

Plymouth, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Lahey Hospital and Medical Center

Burlington, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Leonard Morse Hospital

Natick, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Lowell General Hospital

Lowell, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Marlborough Hospital

Marlborough, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Mercy Medical Center of Springfield

Springfield, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Merrimack Valley Hospital

Haverhill, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Framingham Union Hospital

Framingham, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Milford Regional Medical Center

Milford, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Morton Hospital

Taunton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Mount Auburn Hospital

Cambridge, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Nashoba Valley Medical Center: A Steward Family Hospital

Ayer, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Newton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Noble Hospital

Westfield, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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North Shore Medical Center - Union Hospital

Lynn, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Quincy Medical Center

Quincy, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital

Brockton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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South Shore Hospital

South Weymouth, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center, Inc. 

Brockton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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St. Luke's Hospital: Southeast Hospitals Group

New Bedford, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Steward Norword Hospital

Norwood, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Steward St. Anne's Hospital

Fall River, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Steward St. Elizabeth's Medical Center

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Sturdy Memorial Hospital

Attleboro, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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The Cooley Dickinson Hospital

Northampton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: 

Spring 2013 Grade: 

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Tobey Hospital: Southcoast Hospitals Group

Wareham, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Wing Memorial Hospital & Medical Centers

Palmer, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: A

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital: Needham

Needham, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Falmouth Hospital

Falmouth, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Holyoke Medical Center

Holyoke, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Lawrence General Hospital

Lawrence, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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North Shore Medical Center: Salem Hospital

Salem, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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Saints Medical Center

Lowell, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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St. Vincent at Worcester Medical Center

Worcester, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Tufts Medical Center

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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Winchester Hospital

Winchester, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: B

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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HealthAlliance Hospital

Leominster, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: B

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North Adams Regional Hospital

North Adams, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: A

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U Mass Memorial Medical Center

Worcester, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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U Mass Memorial Medical Center: Memorial Campus

Worcester, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: C

Spring 2013 Grade: C

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Athol Memorial Hospital

Athol, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Baystate Mary Lane Hospital

Ware, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Boston Children's Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Clinton Hospital

Clinton, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded due to lack of publicly available data

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Fairview Hospital

Great Barrington, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Martha's Vineyard Hospital

Oak Bluffs, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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Massachusetts Eye And Ear

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

Prev Next

Nantucket Cottage Hospital

Nantucket,  MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

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New England Baptist Hospital

Boston, MA

 

Fall 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

Spring 2013 Grade: Not Graded*

 

*Not graded because the hospital did not respond to Leapfrog's voluntary survey

 
 

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