Caryn Lerman, NPR, Smokers' Brains

Caryn Lerman, NPR, Smokers' Brains

Scans Predict Likelihood of Smoker Cessation Success

The rapidly advancing technology of brain scans is changing the way physicians predict how likely it is that a long-time smoker will succeed or fail on a tobacco cessation regimen, said Penn Medicine Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry Caryn Lerman in an NPR interview.

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Caryn Lerman, PhD

Lerman, PhD, the director of Penn's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction and a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), is co-author of a new study on the subject.

"We were interested to see whether incorporating information from brain scans improved our ability to make those predictions," she said. Her research team found that measuring activity in the area of the prefrontal cortex accurately predicted which smokers would succeed or fail more than 80 percent of the time.

She said she and her colleagues are moving away from the traditional interviews and questionnaires to predict patient behavior in favor of the brain scans that have proven much more effective.

Published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology this week, her study has also been the subject of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Medical News Today, and Bioscience Technology.