Print 95 comment(s) - last by PitViper007.. on Jun 30 at 12:36 PM

A new study shows that smoking tobacco cigarettes, like consuming alcohol, can lead to severe brain damage, though the mechanism is different. The study also suggests that second hand smoke exposure can also lead to brain damage.  (Source: The New York Times)

Perhaps that Guiness World Book Record for most cigarettes smoked wasn't such a good idea, now that the brain damage smoking tobacco causes is known...  (Source: Guiness World Book of Records)
Move over alcohol, brain damage has a new buddy

New research is set to be published in the July issue of the Journal of Neurochemistry that looks to offer yet another damning medical argument against smoking and allowing second hand smoke in public locations.  The new report finds that Tobacco smoke contains a compound which can cause brain damage.

The new study examined NNK, a procarinogen.  NNK is a toxic derivative of nicotine produced when the chemical is cured in preparation for use in cigarettes.  NNK is not found in other smoked drugs, such as cannabis.

Before the study it was thought that the compound could be damaging to the body, but it was unclear how damaging it was.  In the study, performed by Debapriya Ghosh and Dr Anirban Basu from the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC), it was found that the compound caused white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells causing severe neurological damage.

Unlike alcohol or other forms of drug abuse, the drug does not impact brain tissue directly via oxidation or receptor damage.  Rather, it triggers an inflammatory immunological response that is believed to lead to Multiple Sclerosis and other brain diseases.

Both with in vivo, in mice, and in vitro tests, the researchers discovered that the compound elevated proinflammatory signaling proteins, proinflammatory effector proteins and other stress related proteins, and increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which act as molecular messengers between cells.  These factors led to increased activity by microglia, the brain's white blood cells responsible for attacking intruders.

The microglia turned on healthy cells, due to the increased level of these compounds.  States Professor Ghosh, "Considering the extreme economical and disease burden of neuroinflammation related disorders, it is extremely important from a medical, social and economic point of view to discover if NNK in tobacco causes neuroinflammation.  Our findings prove that tobacco compound NNK can activate microglia significantly which subsequently harms the nerve cells.

While most studies have focused on health threats from smoked tobacco, NNK is also present in chewing tobacco, helping make a stronger case against its use.  NNK is present in 20-310 nanograms in cigarettes, but is also can be present in concentrations as high as 26 nanograms in smoke filmed rooms.  This report adds more evidence that second hand smoke may damage non-smokers' health.

Concludes Professor Ghosh, "This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on regular basis."

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Nicotine and Imagination
By TSS on 6/26/2009 7:00:33 AM , Rating: 1
i can shed some light on that. and the awnser is pretty simple.

i smoke cannabis on a regular basis, once every 4 hours, but i don't smoke tobacco in between. however, in periods where i was quitting/slowing down the habbit i have. my first use of tobacco without cannabis came half a year after i started using cannabis, and it revealed something astonishing to me which clarified immediately why people smoke, and smoke so much when they do.

after smoking weed, you get stoned for about 2-3 hours. after smoking Hashish, you get high for about 2-3 hours and when smoking just tobacco, you get more high then a good hashish joint, but for about 15 minutes at most.

and there you have it. i'm willing to bet that anybody smoking a cig is just as wasted as any cannabis user, but for a shorter time, which is why smokers have a tendancy to keep smoking more. the feeling is very much the same.

heh for me this study is one more reason to stick to grass ^^ same feeling as smokes, longer effect, with all the taxes just about cheaper, and now one more harmfull chemical compound it does not contain.

RE: Nicotine and Imagination
By myhipsi on 6/26/2009 12:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
This is so utterly false, it isn't funny.

Cannabis and nicotine are two completely different drugs with completely different pharmacologies. Nicotine is classed as a stimulant (like coffee, cocaine, amphetamine to name a few). Cannabis is in it's own class. The effects of the two are worlds apart.

Duration and onset has to do with how the liver processes the drugs and their individual half lives. Smokers tend to smoke more because the effect of nicotine wears off within about an hour of smoking, and there's physical withdrawal with nicotine which encourages repetition. Cannabis' effects on the other hand last for about 3 hours with no physical withdrawal, so there is not as much motivation for repetition.

Too compare these two drugs is to compare apples and oranges.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki