Study says genes affect ability to quit smoking

A very interesting study with more evidence that memory circuits are going to be a hot area of research in the coming years:

Researchers collected blood samples from 134 smokers intending to quit.

Six weeks later, they compared the DNA of those who had actually stopped with that of those who had failed, and discovered 221 gene variants present only in those who had successfully stopped.

‘We can now calculate a genetic liability score for a smoker and tailor treatment based on the level of difficulty they will have in quitting,’ said Jed Rose, director of Duke’s Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research.

Rose described the study as the first to examine the impact of genetic markers on a smoker’s ability to quit.

Of the 221 genes identified in the study, at least 30 have been linked to dependence on nicotine and other addictive drugs, Rose said.

‘We now have further evidence that there is a biological basis not only for an addiction, but for a smoker’s ability to successfully beat the addiction,’ George Uhl, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a press release.

In addition to discovering a link between genes and tobacco addiction, the scientists also discovered a link connecting certain genes with memory and habit formation processes-which could also contribute to addiction, Uhl said.