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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Nicotine Use: Nursing Implications for Patient Outcomes.

Tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and preventable death in the United States. The brains of individuals with nicotine dependence are characterized by damaged mesolimbic pathways in the medial portion of the limbic and frontal lobes, creating positive reinforcing mechanisms. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) targets this neuroadaptation to improve smokers' nicotine-related outcomes, such as craving and smoking behavior, by depolarizing or hyperpolarizing the neurons of the brain. Recent literature reported promising outcomes in smokers after tDCS treatment interventions. tDCS has great potential for clinical nursing research for tobacco control given its multiple methodological advantages and few disadvantages. Nurse researchers can consider individualized and home-based tDCS interventions for community-based tobacco control research and may need to consider objective outcome measures (e.g., cotinine in urine) and addiction-related cognitive variables (e.g., self-regulation). Users of electronic nicotine delivery systems also need to be considered as participants in tDCS interventions. Additional considerations for nursing research are discussed.

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