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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."

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RE: Record Picture
By mindless1 on 6/26/2009 5:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
Your post reads a lot like you are making excuses for something you do. Putting alcohol in a drink does not make it more tasty than the same drink less dilluted, or dilluted with something else like water.

Drinking alcohol does not help when you are thirsty, only in the short term would it feign this effect and do a poor job of it compared to same drink without the alcohol, and if you let the alcohol get into the body in a thirsty, dehydrated state, then you get what man knows as a hangover later so it takes even longer to rehydrate and balance electrolyte levels again than just drinking the non-alcoholic beverage.

I'm not suggesting nobody should drink, as with many things it is a personal choice. Rather it is not a matter of enhanced taste and alcohol itself degrades the sense of taste temporarily, or at least the perception of it.

RE: Record Picture
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 6/26/2009 5:40:34 PM , Rating: 2
Drinking alcohol does not help when you are thirsty, only in the short term would it feign this effect and do a poor job of it compared to same drink without the alcohol...

That is very true, however it does help to have a drink with Alcohol when I thirst to get drunk.... ;P

RE: Record Picture
By Fritzr on 6/28/2009 6:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
Long day of hard labor? Grab a beer to quench your thirst...
Bad water? Watered wine, beer & ale are just thing!
Had a long hard day at the office? Pour a brandy or a good whiskey and relax.

Just some examples of real world reasons that people look to beer first as a beverage of choice. The first is cultural conditioning, the second is common sense...alchohol can disinfect the water.
The third is cultural conditioning again. When grownups want to relax they need a snifter of brandy, a good whiskey or maybe a glass of a decent wine to help them unwind.

#1 & #3 are not good reasons to drink, you can relax just as easily with tea, mate, coffee and other nonalcholic drinks, but that isn't part of the mainstream max profits culture. Premium coffees are encroaching, but until the book publishers, movies and TV start pushing them, nonalchohol options will remain a conscious choice.

Then add advertising intended to convince people that "drink" means alchohol. When people are conditioned to buy "hard" (contains alchohol) drinks because "soft" (no alchohol) drinks are only for kids, you are going to see a lot of people buying alchohol for a refresher simply out of habit. The kids of course now want the alchohol because that is a "grownup drink".

On top of that is the profit margin on alchohol sales. The people selling a selection will bias their offerings to push the alchohol since there is normally a much higher profit percentage on those items.

RE: Record Picture
By MrPoletski on 6/28/2009 8:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
Putting alcohol in a drink does not make it more tasty than the same drink less dilluted, or dilluted with something else like water.

Ever tried alcohol free beer?

Seriously, it'll change your life, you'll be pouring alcohol in everything you drink for ever more just to get the taste out of your mouth.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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