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Smoking Doubles the Risk of Alzheimer’s

There're many reasons why smoking (and second-hand smoke) ruins health. Top of the list: smoking DOUBLES the risk of Alzheimer's. Just stop it!
Amprion Blog - Featured Image - smoking doubles the risk for Alzheimers
Amprion Blog - Featured Image - smoking doubles the risk for Alzheimers
There're many reasons why smoking (and second-hand smoke) ruins health. Top of the list: smoking DOUBLES the risk of Alzheimer's. Just stop it!
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Sure, when you quit smoking you save money on mints, gum, and Febreze. Those are nice, but here’s a HUGE reason to stop!  ✅  Smoking DOUBLES the risk of Alzheimer’s! Also, your loved ones will love you for it. They “love you long time”, and you can love’em back–even longer!

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 14% of dementia cases worldwide could be caused by smoking.

Smoking and dementia risk

Smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia. A 2019 Lancet Commission on dementia prevention ranked smoking as third among nine modifiable risk factors for dementia.

A recent review of 37 research studies found that compared to never smokers, current smokers were:

  • 30% more likely to develop dementia in general, and
  • 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A
  • Analyses of earlier studies suggested the risk may be even higher than that.

A large study carried out in Finland found that people who smoke heavily, packs of cigarettes a day in middle age more than double their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia two decades later.

Research has also found that, compared to light smokers, Alzheimer’s disease’s risk was significantly higher among medium to heavy smokers. This suggests a possible dose-response relationship between how much someone smokes and their chances of developing Alzheimer’s, i.e., the more you smoke, the higher your risk.

Originally Posted on Express UK | 20 Feb 2013

Quitting smoking could dramatically lower the risks for Alzheimer’s disease, according to research. It has long been known that smoking is harmful to health and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and a host of other chronic conditions for both men and women. But now, researchers have found a direct link between smoking and Alzheimer’s, a common form of dementia, showing that the smoke from cigarettes directly causes changes in the brain, which can lead to the disease.

It means the estimated 10 million smokers in Britain could help protect themselves from the devastating condition by quitting the habit.

In his research study, Dr. Claudio Soto, Amprion’s chief science officer, and a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas, has shown that mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease exposed to cigarette smoke display increased disease abnormalities in the brain. The study shows new insights into a potential environmental risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous human studies have suggested that smoking might increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Smoking is known to contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are believed to be important in developing Alzheimer’s. Others have shown that passive smokers are at a 44% increased risk of developing mental decline. However, none have looked directly at the effect of cigarette smoke exposure on the causes and progress of Alzheimer’s.

This latest study published in Nature Communications found that exposing mice to cigarette smoke increases the severity of some of the brain’s abnormalities typical of Alzheimer’s disease, such as neuroinflammation and amyloid buildup plaques defective tau protein. Stopping this relentless destruction of brain cells is seen as vital in the hunt for a cure for devastating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Experts believe that preventing this cascade of destruction, stopping dementia from taking hold in the first place, is the key to eradicating it for good.

Normally tau protein is a hard-working participant in memory and normal brain function. But in cases of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, tau protein not only stops playing a productive role in brain health, but it also becomes a misshapen attacker that destroys the brain cells.

The tau protein’s destructive knots are two protein abnormalities found in Alzheimer’s patients, the other being amyloid. They gather inside brain cells forming the tangles, which eventually burst the cell, killing it for good. Research scientists say that further studies are needed to confirm the mechanisms responsible for increasing the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and whether the same effect is also seen in humans.

However, research results highlight cigarette smoke as an important environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, wrote:

“It’s been known for some time that smoking is harmful to our health, and observational studies have already linked smoking to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  This research provides yet more evidence for a direct link between smoking and Alzheimer’s by highlighting some brain changes that may result from exposure to cigarette smoke.

Research to understand the underlying mechanisms involved could provide new insight to help scientists develop future treatments.

The best evidence shows that quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of dementia, along with other lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check.

With 820,000 people currently living with dementia in the UK and that number on the increase, research to find new treatments and preventions is vital.”

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