Today's picks

    Propensity for smoking linked to molecules in specific brain regions, say scientists

    Molecular map allows researchers to link certain behaviours with neurological regions, and could help develop new treatments for diseases.
    Smokers could be predisposed to lighting up because of the make-up of their brain, new research suggests.
    A predisposition to smoking may come from the molecular composition of specific regions of the brain, scientists found.
    By creating a map of the brain based on post mortem tissue samples, researchers have been able to understand why certain behaviours – including smoking – are linked with certain brain areas.
    “We studied the molecular makeup of the brain and isolated thousands of proteins out of the brain, and then we asked what this could tell us about human behaviour,” said Professor Seth Grant, a neuroscientist at the University of Edinburgh who led the Nature Neuroscience study.
    “What we found was that we could link behaviours to sets of proteins in different parts of the brain,” he said.