THURSDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers are more likely to
kick the habit after a stroke if the area of their brain that
processes emotions was damaged by the stroke, researchers say.
The study also found that people who planned to stop smoking
before they had a stroke were much more likely to be successful at
quitting than those who hadn't thought about quitting.
These findings may lead to new ways to personalize smoking
cessation treatment and education programs, according to the study
published Nov. 3 in the journal
"We found that both biological and psychological factors may influence someone's smoking status after a stroke," lead author Rosa Suner, a researcher at the Josep Trueta Hospital and professor of nursing at Girona University in Spain, said in a journal news release.
The study included 110 stroke survivors who were smokers at the
time of their stroke. The patients were followed for up to a year
after they were discharged from hospital.
While 76 of the patients had quit smoking at the time of
discharge, only 44 were still nonsmokers one year later. Those who
suffered stroke-related damage to the brain's insular cortex (which
processes emotions) were more than twice as likely to be nonsmokers
after a year than patients who suffered damage in other areas of
The researchers also found that patients who had decided to stop
smoking before having a stroke were more than twice as likely to be
nonsmokers a year after hospital discharge than those who hadn't
planned to stop smoking.
Before their strokes, one-third of the patients knew that
smoking was a risk factor for stroke, one-third were unaware it was
a risk factor, and one-third thought smoking wasn't a risk factor,
the investigators found.
"Many ongoing studies looking at the link between different areas of the brain and addiction are discovering that the insular cortex plays a very important role," Suner said. "Public knowledge of the link between smoking and stroke is not as strong as it is with other diseases. The information gained from this study may help tailor individual treatment and education programs for smokers after stroke."
The study authors noted in the news release that smokers are two
to three times more likely to suffer a stroke than nonsmokers.
However, if a smoker quits, the risk of stroke returns to normal
within two to five years.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
stroke and stroke prevention.