Focused and sharp

Published: Tuesday 15 September 1998

Brain scans confirm what smokers insist: cigarettes improve concentration. Elizabeth Quattrocki of the McLean Hospital in USA, asked four smokers not to smoke for 24 hours. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, she scanned the brains of these volunteers and four nonsmokers as they answered questions about some pictures. Both groups showed similar brain activity. The smokers then had a few cigarettes during a 15-minute break. After that, their reaction times improved, while those of the non-smokers did not. Scans confirmed smokers had more brain activity.

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