Merideth Addicott

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researcher Merideth Addicott has received a $1.7 million grant to study smokers’ responses to emotional distress. The goal is to better understand why some people can quit and others can’t or relapse. The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Addicott, who oversees UAMS’ Center for Addiction Research, will use fMRI (functional magnetic research imaging) on study subjects to measure stressors, including giving study participants a math test while undergoing a scan. (I can tell her already that though I was able to quit smoking, a math test would send my stress levels through the roof, or at least through the fMRI machine). She’ll also measure how long patients can hold their breath and tolerate cold water.

In UAMS’ press release about the grant, Addicott is quoted:

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“We’re looking at stress and its relationship to smoking because we know that some people smoke to address stress,” says Addicott, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry. “Stress can come from so many things – traffic, family, work – and stress can really trip people up when they are trying to quit smoking. We’re looking for individual differences to predict who can quit for longer based on distress tolerance.”