Saturday, May 13, 2006

Smoking for Better Health

At last! Here's a good reason to smoke cigarettes: they prevent Parkinson's Disease.

Actually, they've known this for some time, but nobody has been able to explain why it is that cigarette smokers are less likely to develop Parkinson's.

Apparently, a compound in tobacco that is a derivative of naphthoquinone, preserves dopamine by interfering with an enzyme in the brain known as monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO typically breaks down neurotransmitters - including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine - as part of normal chemical activity in the brain.

I'm guessing they'll find another way to get the useful compound, but for now, smokers can tell everyone else to shut-up, for once.

3 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

Oh boy, I can hear it now. "This was probably a study funded and driven by the tobacco industry and has no scientific validity". Of course, even if the first charge can be deomonstrated it might not be so easy to prove the second, and thereby refute the study. But you can bet thee's some nervous anti-tobacco nellies chewing their fingernails and pacing up and down as bad as any ex-smoker trying to come up with an answer.

Personally, I look for it to inspire another round of anti-tobacoo lawsuits. But it is, ironically, a breath of fresh air.

Rufus said...

I'm wondering if this is why some smokers say that it helps them to focus. Unfortunately, I just don't know the biology well enough to tell.

The Pagan Temple said...

I don't know if there is a connection with Parkinsons, but it does definitely help you focus. Well, a better way of describing it would be that it helps you to focus with less intensity, if that makes any sense. More to the point, it helps you to keep that focus longer. Your mind doesn't ramble as much. Of course, this could conceivably be an aspect of the addictive qualities of smoking, I suppose.