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Magnetic Brain Stimulation May Help Smokers Quit

Study of experimental treatment shows some success at six months

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Dan Jacobsen, from the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y., thinks the idea is interesting but he doesn't see this becoming a viable treatment option anytime soon.

"This treatment is not a simple procedure," he noted. And the six-month results weren't as good as the success rates for other treatments, including medication and nicotine replacement, combined with behavioral components, he said.

Side effects from the treatment were mild and included headaches or muscle twitching. These symptoms went away with continued treatment, Zangen said. One potentially serious but rare side effect is that brain stimulation can induce a seizure, especially in those prone to epilepsy, he noted.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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