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How Does Smoking Lower The Risk Of Parkinson Disease

Smoking Found To Reduce Risk Of Developing Parkinsons Disease


People who smoke, or are passively exposed to cigarette smoke, are less likely to develop Parkinsons disease, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London of more than 220,000 people.

The analysis suggests that people who have smoked are 20 per cent less likely to develop Parkinsons disease, and for those who are still smoking the risk is halved. A persons risk also decreases the more cigarettes that are smoked and the longer one smokes.

The researchers warn that the findings do not imply health benefits from smoking, and should instead be used for further research into the active agent in tobacco, which could in the future be used as a preventive treatment.

Tobacco Coffee And Parkinson’s Disease

This article has been corrected.

Parkinson’s disease belongs to that small group of conditions that occur less often among cigarette smokers than in non-smokers. The observation was first made in a case-control study over 30 years ago, but, as Hernán and colleagues have shown in their recent systematic review and meta-analysis, the finding has been replicated many times. The protective effect is largeaccording to the pooled data, current smokers have a 60% reduction in risk compared with those who have never smokedand consistent between studies in different settings. The fact that two very large prospective studies found a similar reduction in risk to that seen in retrospective studies rules out the possibility that the association can be accounted for by differential survival between smokers and non-smokers. Coffee drinking too, seems to protect against Parkinson’s disease. Here the pooled estimate is a 30% reduction in risk for coffee drinkers compared with non-drinkers.

One unachieved goal in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease is preventing it getting worse. If, as the epidemiological evidence implies, caffeine and nicotine are neuroprotective, some of the new pharmacological treatments currently being developed, such as adenosine A2A receptor blockers and nicotinic agonists, might not only improve symptoms but slow the relentless progression of the disease.

When It Comes To Cholesterol Statins And Parkinson’s Risk Where Do We Stand

A number of early studies suggested that statin use decreases Parkinsons risk, however a study published in 2015 suggested the reverse might be true.

The research published in Movement Disorders suggests that high cholesterol might protect brain cells, so taking statins to reduce cholesterol may inadvertently be increasing Parkinsons risk.

More recent research has concentrated on the use of statins for people who have already been diagnosed. The Tracking Parkinson’s study has found that people recently diagnosed with Parkinsons who are at high or medium risk of cardiovascular disease tend to have more problems with walking and memory.

Professor Donald Grosset, leader of the Tracking Parkinsons study and one of the authors of a study into cardiovascular health in Parkinsons, explains:

Also Check: Parkinson’s Disease Research Paper

What About Cigarettes Parkinsons Smoking And Risk Of Cancer

As I mentioned in a previous blog, there is also an inverse relationship between cigarette smoking and PD. It is unclear whether that is because an ingredient of cigarette smoke protects smokers from PD, or because the lack of dopamine in people with PD make them more risk-averse as a group, and therefore less likely to smoke.

Regardless, because it is clear that smoking increases the risk of multiple types of cancer, any study that investigates the cancer rates of people with PD must always account for the fact that people with PD tend to smoke less than people without PD. The most recent study which analyzes the relationship between cancer risk and PD, as referenced above, takes great pains to remove this confounding factor in its statistical analysis. Even with taking differences in smoking rates into account, the conclusion of the study is that people who have had cancer are less likely to develop PD. It is also the case that rates of certain types of cancers that have not been linked to smoking are lower in people with PD. This fact supports the conclusion that the lower rates of smoking among PD patients is not the cause of the lower rates of cancer. Regardless of any study results, cigarette smoking is linked to numerous deadly diseases and must be avoided.

Ethnicity: Does Ethnicity Play A Role In The Relationship Between Parkinsons And Cancer

Smokers at Lower Risk of Parkinson

A study, conducted in 2015 in Taiwan among people of Chinese heritage, indicated an increased risk of cancer in people with PD. In order to explain why this study did not conform to prior results, the researchers suggested that the relationship between cancer and PD may differ in different ethnic populations. Particular genes influence cancer risk as well as PD risk, so it should come as no surprise that these factors may change in different populations. However, much more work must be done to confirm this result, and currently there are no changes to cancer screening for PD patients of particular ethnicities.

Also Check: How Long Can You Live With Early Onset Parkinson’s

The Take Home Message

There is quite a lot of evidence pointing towards smoking decreasing the risk of Parkinsons. But this does not outweigh the fact that smoking increases the risk of other conditions, such as lung and mouth cancer, by a far greater extent.

There are alternatives to smoking, but at the moment there is a lack of evidence that nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches or gum, have the same effects on reducing Parkinsons risk. And studies of nicotine patches to treat the symptoms of Parkinsons have, so far, produced conflicting and therefore inconclusive results.

But there are other alternatives if you want more nicotine in your life. Nicotine-containing vegetables come from the same botanical family as tobacco, Solanaceae, and include tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. And, even though these vegetables only contain small amounts of nicotine, in one small study they were associated with a reduced the risk of Parkinsons compared to other types of vegetables.

While eating a few more fruits and vegetables will probably be good for most people, we recommend talking to a healthcare professional or specialist before making significant changes to your diet or taking supplements.

Smoking Cessation And Parkinson’s Disease

Daniel D. Truong, MD

A number of studies have shown that the percentage of people who smoke is lower among individuals with Parkinsons disease than those without. Furthermore, individuals who have ever been smokers have half the risk of developing PD compared to those who have never smoked. When results like these were initially published, they were interpreted as showing that smoking somehow protected people from developing PD.

Recently, scientists have come to a different conclusion from these results. The new theory is that fewer people who go on to develop PD become or remain smokers because, for them, nicotine has less of a rewarding effect. Nicotine has a number of effects on the brain. Like all drugs that produce rewarding effects, nicotine increases levels of dopamine in certain areas of the brain. Behaviorally, it produces stimulating effects. Individuals with PD have a lower number of nicotine receptors in the brain, up to 50 percent lower in some areas, than those without PD. Because of this, there are fewer sites for it to bind to in the brain, so nicotines effects will be lesser. This may make it easier for people with PD to quit smoking.

If the reduced effect of nicotine on the brain is an early effect of PDone that is evident long before the motor effects are diagnosed, like changes in smell, constipation, and REM sleep disordersreduced nicotine reward and/or an easier time quitting smoking might be an early marker for PD.


Read Also: Is Cbd Good For Parkinson’s

Type 2 Diabetes And The Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease

Diabetes Care

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  • Gang Hu, Pekka Jousilahti, Siamak Bidel, Riitta Antikainen, Jaakko Tuomilehto Type 2 Diabetes and the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Diabetes Care 1 April 2007 30 : 842847.

    OBJECTIVETo evaluate whether type 2 diabetes at baseline is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSWe prospectively followed 51,552 Finnish men and women 2574 years of age without a history of Parkinson’s disease at baseline. History of diabetes and other study parameters were determined at baseline using standardized measurements. Ascertainment of the Parkinson’s disease status was based on the nationwide Social Insurance Institution’s drug register data. Hazard ratios of incident Parkinson’s disease associated with the history of type 2 diabetes were estimated.

    These data suggest that type 2 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Surveillance bias might account for higher rates in diabetes. The mechanism behind this association between diabetes and Parkinson’s disease is not known.

    Multivariable Mr Analysis Adjusting For Competing Substance Use Phenotypes

    Coffee Reduce Alzheimers and Parkinsons Risks

    While our univariate MR analyses indicate whether genetic predisposition to these risk factors is associated with PD risk, it remains unclear whether other highly correlated environmental risk factors potentially mediate those relationships. To evaluate the direct effect between our exposures of interest and PD risk, we fitted another IVW regression model by regressing out the genetic association between our SNP instruments and the following putative risk factors in our MR analyses: BMI, years of education, smoking status and cigarettes per day alcohol intake . For BMI and education attainment , we derived the genetic effect size estimates from the UKBB cohort. The UKBB data were QC-ed as per previous work: The GWAS for BMI included 437,458 individuals, while normalized educational attainment included 214,999 individuals. We used BOLT-LMM mixed model software adjusting for recruitment age, sex and the first ten ancestral principal components. For alcohol and smoking-related traits, we adopted the effect size estimates from the GSCAN summary statistics.

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    V Possible Mechanism Of Action

    In light of the ETS and food studies, some researchers studying the causality suggested that the duration of exposure might be the most important neuroprotective factor against PD. Honglei Chen, a senior researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and a co-author of many smoking-PD studies, wrote that it is possible that the biological effects of nicotine or other tobacco compounds may be saturated at low concentrations. He added that since PD likely takes time to develop, sustained exposure may be needed to lower the risk . Other researchers proposed that smoking might have a protective effect not through direct action of a specific compound, but rather because chronic low dose exposure to smoke toxins can increase tolerance to acute exposures of other toxic compounds like -synuclein and A, which cause PD neurode-generation .

    Smoking Associated With Lower Parkinson’s Disease Risk

    JAMA and Archives Journals
    A pooled analysis of data from previous studies suggests that cigarette smoking appears to be associated with a reduced risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, with long-term and current smokers at the lowest risk, according to a recent report.

    A pooled analysis of data from previous studies suggests that cigarette smoking appears to be associated with a reduced risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, with long-term and current smokers at the lowest risk, according to a report in the July issue of Archives of Neurology.

    Several studies have suggested that patients with Parkinson’s disease are less likely to be smokers, according to background information in the article. “Recent studies also suggested that Parkinson’s disease risk is particularly low in active smokers with a long history of intense smoking some even suggested dose-related risk reductions with increasing pack-years of smoking,” the authors write. “This prompted speculation as to whether and how these observations might inform Parkinson’s disease treatment and prevention.” However, the number of participants in most Parkinson’s disease studies is too small to answer important questions about the role of smoking.

    Beate Ritz, M.D., Ph.D., of the UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, and colleagues pooled data from 11,809 individuals involved in 11 studies conducted between 1960 and 2004.

    Reference: Arch Neurol. 2007 64:990-997.

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    The Parkinsons Disease News Forums Are A Place To Connect With Other Patients Share Tips And Talk About The Latest Research Join Today

    Data on smoking habits were collected at recruitment, including whether participants were never, former or current smokers, their age when they started smoking and when they quit, and number of cigarettes per day at different ages.

    The results showed that, compared with people who had never smoked, former smokers had a 20% lower risk and current smokers a halved risk for developing Parkinsons during follow-up .

    Smoking more cigarettes and for a longer period of time were also associated with a lower risk of developing the disease, as the risk in people smoking 12 or more cigarettes a day or for longer than 30 years was about 55% lower compared to those who had never smoked.

    Smoking correlated with reduced disease risk in both mid-age and late-onset Parkinsons, as well as in tremor-dominant and akinetic-rigid Parkinsons. Also, the risk did not vary over the follow-up period, which argues against a delaying effect of smoking on Parkinsons onset, the team observed.

    Exposure to passive smoking at home or work was also linked to lower risk, as passive smokers were 30% less likely to develop the disease than non-exposed individuals.

    In conclusion, the present findings are consistent with a protective effect of smoking on the risk of , scientists stated.

    However, no one would ever be advised to use smoking as a preventive treatment for Parkinsons based on this research, because of the disastrous effects we know smoking has on peoples general health, Gallo added.

    Case Ascertainment And Sample Size

    Smokers have 50 per cent lower risk of Parkinson

    A total of 881 PD cases was ascertained in the participating EPIC centres. The present analysis has been conducted on a total sample of 214533 subjects after removing 147 prevalent PD cases, 5359 subjects with missing information on smoking status at recruitment. Moreover, 221 subjects with PD-like conditions were also removed from the analysis. The sample resulted in a total of 2666206 person/years. Procedures for PD case ascertainment in the EPIC cohort have been described elsewhere. In brief, in each centre, potential cases were identified through record linkage and validated through clinical record review by a neurologist expert in movement disorder who collected additional clinical data, including age of onset and clinical subtype at onset .

    Recommended Reading: How To Know If You Have Parkinson’s Disease

    I Ets At The Workplace And Home

    The first case-control study of association of ETS and PD was conducted in 2006 on 163 Australian PD patients. The participants were asked about their smoking history with information about initiation, cessation, frequency and quantities smoked was collected. Regular smoking was defined as smoking as often as once per week for 6 months or more. Next both smokers and non-smokers were asked about the prevalence of ETS smoke in their life-either at the workplace or home. The data for both never and ever smokers who lived with a smoker or worked in a smoky workplace showed decreased ORs of PD. For example, the never smokers who lived with a smoker for 1-15, 15-25, 26+ years had the adjusted ORs of 0.67 , 0.71 and 0.51 , respectively, compared to those who never lived with a smoker. The ETS exposure effect was dose-dependent-longer exposure further reduced risk for PD. .

    The 2012 ETS case-control study from the U.S. investigated the association between PD and living or working with active smokers in 153 PD subjects. Authors observed that compared to controls, passive never-smokers had a pooled OR of 0.34 whereas the active smokers showed a similar OR of 0.35 . The risk was again inversely proportional to years of ETS exposure.

    Another case-control study on 249 PD patients carried out in Japan showed similar relation-ships for smokers , but no significant association between ETS exposure and PD .

    Does Smoking Really Protect Against Parkinsons Disease

    Written By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on November 29, 2018

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the landmark 1964 Surgeon Generals report on smoking, considered one of the great public health achievements of our time and the first of 30 other such reports from the Surgeon General on smoking. Internal tobacco industry memos, which you can see in my Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinsons Disease? video, document their response. Major criticisms of the report include a avalier treatment of costs of smoking: The Surgeon General argued that smoking costs the United States billions, but the tobacco industry noted that smoking saves the country money by increasing the number of people dying soon after retirement, so we dont have to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and the like. In fact, the industry argued, if we were truly patriotic, maybe we should encourage smoking to help balance the budget!

    Quite unexpectedlyore than 50 studies over the last half century consistently demonstrated reduced prevalence of Parkinsons disease among smokers compared with never-smokers. Now there are more than five dozen studies.

    Recommended Reading: Early Parkinson’s Symptoms Mayo Clinic

    Smoking Cessation Drug May Treat Parkinsons In Women

    There are approximately 10 million people worldwide living with Parkinsons disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to a variety of movement-related symptomsdifficulty in walking, tremors, shakingand non-movement-related symptomsdepression, constipation, sleep problemsthat negatively affect a persons way of living. These symptoms start to develop when at least 50 percent of dopamine neurons in an individuals brain are dead or impaired. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinsons and no treatment that can stop or prevent the loss of these dopamine neurons that are needed for the body to move.

    Using an animal model, researchers from the Texas A& M University College of Medicine have recently discovered that cytisinea smoking cessation drug commonly used in Europereduces the loss of dopamine neurons in females. These findings provide potential evidence for the use of this drug to treat Parkinsons disease or stop its progression in women.

    Sara Zarate and Gauri Pandey, graduate students from the lab of Rahul Srinivasan, MBBS, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience & Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A& M College of Medicine, are co-first authors of this research that was published in the Journal of Neurochemistry.

    About a decade ago, Srinivasan became interested in trying to understand a remarkable phenomenon: smokers and people who consume tobacco chronically are at a lower risk for developing Parkinsons disease.

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