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Smoking and Alzheimer's Risk

By October 26, 2010

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While we've known for some time that along with diabetes and high blood pressure smoking is one of the major vascular risk factors that increases one's risk of Alzheimer's disease, a recent study gives us an idea of just how high that risk is with smoking. The study, published online yesterday in the  Archives of Internal Medicine, analyzed data from over 20,000 members of a health care system who participated in a survey between 1978 and 1985. Over a quarter of those people ultimately developed dementia, and compared with nonsmokers those who smoked more than 2 packs per day in middle age were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Those heavy smokers were also more than twice as likely to develop Vascular Dementia.

Those who smoked one to two packs per day had a 44% greater risk of developing dementia compared with nonsmokers, while even those who smoked just half a pack of cigarettes daily had a 37% increased risk. Even these findings are likely underestimates of the true risk of smoking, since some of the smokers likely died before dementia even developed.

The good news was that those people who had quit smoking by the start of the study didn't have an increased risk of dementia. But the bottom line remains that even if the lungs find a way to escape the damage of smoking cigarettes,the brain may not.

Comments
October 26, 2010 at 4:10 pm
(1) harleyrider1978 says:

An observational study is no study,its junk science like all of tobacco controls wild claims. The first line gives IT away the HEADLINE THREAT ……157% INCREASE…….DUH it means 1.57 relative risk which is no risk to begin with.It needs to be over 3.0 to even be considered and even then its not dramatic!

DESIGN: Population based case-control study.

SETTING: City of Rotterdam and four northern provinces of The Netherlands.

SUBJECTS: 198 patients with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, 198 controls matched for age and sex, and families of 17 patients in whom Alzheimer’s disease was apparently inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Age of onset of dementia, relative risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

RESULTS: 89 of 193 patients with Alzheimer’s disease had a history of smoking compared with 102 of 195 controls. Among the patients and controls with a family history of dementia, smoking was significantly less common in those with dementia (40/95 with dementia v 55/96 controls; relative risk 0.35; 95% confidence interval 0.16 to 0.78). The risk of Alzheimer’s disease decreased with increasing daily number of cigarettes smoked before onset of disease (relative risk 0.3 in those smoking greater than 21/day v 1 in non-smokers). In six families in which the disease was apparently inherited as an autosomal dominant disorder, the mean age of onset was 4.17 years later in smoking patients than in non-smoking patients from the same family (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest an inverse association between smoking and Alzheimer’s disease, although smoking cannot be advocated for other health reasons. We speculate that nicotine may have a role in the aetiology of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

November 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm
(2) touchingsoulsintl says:

Those heavy smokers were also more than twice as likely to develop Vascular Dementia— one more reason for to quit smoking,

November 17, 2010 at 12:27 pm
(3) gene says:

More drivel from this harleyrider spammer (Google him) who infests message boards with his drivel.

Science has established that smoking contributes to Alzheimer’s, so harley has to go all the way back to a 20-year-old study to pump out his partisan spam.

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