Does insular stroke disrupt the self-medication effects of nicotine?

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Sep;75(3):302-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Mar 28.


This paper explores the relationship between insular stroke and the disruption of tobacco use. A functional analysis of the role of the insula in maintaining homeostasis suggests that the insula monitors hypoxia and applies dyspnea to motivate the individual to regulate breathing. From its' early usage, nicotine has been used to treat respiratory disorders. It increases respiratory drive, promoting better breathing. Insular stroke likely interferes with this self-regulation. A new self-medication model is proposed for tobacco use. The effect on public policy is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Drive
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Public Policy
  • Respiration Disorders / drug therapy
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / pathology


  • Nicotine