How To Prevent Alzheimer's Disease: Light Up A Cigarette.

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by tkkenyon, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. tkkenyon Registered Member

    How to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease:
    Light up a cigarette.
    No, seriously. Light up a cigarette.

    Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is Hell. It’s pretty close to my own personal definition of a literal Hell.

    I’ll do just about anything to avoid AD. Chances are, because my three living grandparents are all over 88 years old, I’m going to live a while, assuming I avoid stepping in front of busses. Recent evidence suggests that damage due to the APOE4 allele only kicks in after the age of 80. Before that, it’s just laziness (or due to other neurodegeneration.)

    So I’ve been incorporating all those prim little lifestyle changes that are supposed to guarantee a long, healthy, happy life. I’ve cut down on coffee and chocolate. I’ve never smoked and rarely have a drink. I try to minimize the number and amount of painkillers and other drugs that I take. I’m a vegetarian and eat lots of pretty colors of food every day and take my multivitamin.

    If I don’t live forever, it will certainly seem that way.

    Here’s the joke: My heart may be in pretty decent shape, but that Baptist nun approach to life is a recipe for Alzheimer’s Disease.

    That’s right. The best and latest research shows that the best way to avoid, slow, or delay Alzheimer’s disease and preserve your brain is to pickle it with booze, cigarettes, caffeine, ibuprofen, and the occasional fish. Oh, and eating your vegetables doesn’t help at all.

    First of all, the biggest shocker: smoking reduces your chances of getting AD. Ref1 Ref2

    Seriously, it’s true. It’s not widely publicized because it’s terribly politically incorrect.

    Smoking also reduces your chance of getting Parkinson’s Disease.

    Actually, to maximize your chance of avoiding AD and living a long life: smoke for a while, then stop. (Easier said than done.)

    Before we go any farther, I don’t think anyone is recommending that you take up smoking. That particular device, the cigarette, has thousands of other compounds that cause heart disease, cancer, halitosis, body odor, and wrinkles. Smoking also vastly increases your chances of getting a vascular form of dementia caused by many small strokes. So, it’s really not a good idea. I don’t smoke. Never have. Never will.

    I have considered the nicotine patch or gum, however.

    But there’s good evidence that smoking reduces your risk of AD. The studies are pretty good, and they’re not sponsored by the tobacco companies. They have controlled for other risk factors, including the “Hardy Survivor” effect, which basically means that if smoking doesn’t kill you, nothing will. Ref1 Another study controlled for weight of the subjects, which is important because smokers generally aren’t as chubby as non-smokers, and being overweight is associated with AD. Ref2.

    One theory as to why smokers are less susceptible to AD involves nicotinic acid receptors. When you smoke, your brain makes more receptors for the nicotine. Ref1. However, people who have dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) have fewer nicotinic acid receptors. Ref2 People with AD also have fewer nicotinic acid receptors in their brains. Ref3

    But can nicotine or smoking reduce your chances of getting AD?

    First, some basic neuroscience. One of the most supported theories for the cause of AD (and we aren’t sure what causes AD) is a protein called beta-amyloid, also called Ab, A-beta, or bAP. (Thus, the folks who espouse this theory are called bAP-tists.)

    Beta-amyloid protein occurs naturally in your brain, though no one knows what it does. The normal form is soluble, which means that it dissolves in water. Forms of beta-amyloid that are less soluble and tend to form clumps (aggregate) are thought to be more pathogenic. The forms that may be associated with AD are called Ab40 and Ab42. Ab42 is thought to be worse for your brain (more pathogenic) than Ab40.

    The more pathogenic forms Ab40 and Ab42 are found in higher amounts in non-smokers’ brains than in smokers, Ref1 especially in areas of the brain that are associated with age-related dementia. Ref2. In general, higher concentrations of Ab40 and Ab42 have been found to be associated with AD.

    Now can smoking reduce your chances for AD? In a mouse model of AD (and mouse models are imperfect for a whole variety of reasons, but that’s another essay,) mice who produce a mutated human gene for amyloid (that is associated with getting AD in humans) make amyloid plaques in their little mousy brains. When you feed them nicotine, they make fewer gunky amyloid plaques in their little mousy brains.

    How can that happen? Well, it’s been found in humans that the chemical that nicotine turns into in your body, (called Nornicotine,) bonds to amyloid and reduces it’s gunking into plaques.

    Nicotine also breaks down fibrils of amyloid, which are thought to be what the plaques are made of.

    Some recent studies, however, have found that smoking increases your chances of dementia. Ref1. Ref2. Yet, the molecular evidence suggests that Ab disposition is less in smokers and in nicotine-ingesting mice. Why is that?

    Well, there’s a whole host of possible reasons.

    (1) Alzheimer’s Disease, like all “lifestyle” diseases, is multi-causal. Slightly changing the way you pick your subjects will drastically change your results. Different model. Different study.

    (2) Many of the studies found positive links between smoking and dementia, not smoking and AD. You can’t definitively diagnose AD unless you autopsy the brain. (This is contraindicated in people who are still using their brains.) Therefore, these studies may be finding vascular dementia, which is very common and associated with smoking.

    (3) The last possibility is that the beta-amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s Disease is wrong, or at least the Ab42-is-bad hypothesis is wrong. This means that all the studies are correct. Smoking, therefore, increases your risk of AD while decreasing your load of Ab42-associated plaques.

    One hypothesis suggests that the plaques are formed to keep the Ab42 (or a precursor, like ADDLs) from floating around. The floating Ab42 kills brain cells. Therefore, tying up the Ab42 in plaques is actually a defense mechanism. Thus, smokers have fewer defensive plaques, more floating Ab42, and more AD.

    TK Kenyon,

    This essay was reprinted from The Science For Non-Majors Blog. The version at the blogsite has embedded references to the PubMed abstracts:
    If you found this article helpful, please Digg it at

    Now, would you take up smoking? Even if if prevents AD?
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  3. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Hello tkkenyon,

    smoking can cause diseases of
    1. the cardiovascular system, in particular smoking being a major risk factor for a myocardial infarction (heart attack),
    2. diseases of the respiratory tract such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema
    3. cancer, particularly lung cancer and cancers of the larynx and tongue.


    Is a premature death worth decreasing the risk of altzheimer?
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  5. imaplanck. Banned Banned


    This is very interesting to me. I am a very light smoker(smoke about 60 a week), and I personally think smoking is over demonized. There are somewhat paradoxical anomalies to smoking (but then my nan is 80 smoked since a teenager and is in great health and mobility(I tell no lie)), we should see markidly higher life expectancy in groups that dont smoke to groups that dont, but unlike in the case of diet or wealth, correct me if Im wrong but there never seems to be a big difference Topographically between heavy smoking groups and nonsmoking-light smoking groups, we just get pounded with the rat and mice data type thing, or biopsies that are conclude a smoking related death(but this of course doesnt take into account that the patient could have died at a similar age if he never smoked in his life).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2007
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  7. imaplanck. Banned Banned

    Yes the best advice is to not smoke kiddies, but have fun. Its not worth living to 150 in misery.
  8. imaplanck. Banned Banned

    Thanks monk, I just wanted to make sure people knew I was replying to that guy.
  9. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    It can indeed be a choice to smoke. The same choice can be made for drinking alcohol.

    You only live once and you want to enjoy it.

    People interpret this differently though. Some think you should enjoy it as long as possible. Others go for intensity. We all die in the end.
  10. Sputnik Banned Banned

    Cough, cough ....aheeemm ... just smoking .......:m:

    Just like the drugs registered for the treatment of Alzheimer (such as : donepezil (aricept) , rivastigmin (exelon) and galantamin (Reminyl) ) ,
    nicotine is a cholinerg agonist - so it might be old water under the bridge ...
    could be new that it actually PREVENTS Alz....
    Anyway your first references only says it is suggested ...... not exactly the same as proved ....

    Anyway all the above mentioned, including nicotine is known to increase
    your cognitive ability : memory, concentration and planning .......

    If you want nicotine , then there are plenty of other ways to get it , than smoking - patches, chewing gum , soluble tablets under your tongue .....
  11. Sputnik Banned Banned

    I allready smoke cigarettes - but would rather give it up than continue

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  12. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

  13. Facial Valued Senior Member

    I always thought smoking impedes brain activity.
  14. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

    Smoking also cures Uncool Disease. A deadly affliction that ruins one's sex life and respect!
  15. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    And studies have also found an inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of certain types of cancers.

    Why coffee is good for you!
  16. RedItch99 Big Bad Wolf Registered Senior Member

    everybody has their own cognitive idea on how to deal with smoking. maybe one has seen death of a relative by a cigarette, or whatever. i am a smoker, say 10 a day, i do feel a a change in my body but i still smoke, it's my preferred lifestyle. no one can tell you otherwise. just my 2 cents.
  17. soullust Registered Senior Member

    two of my grand parents were heavy smokers, they both got Alzheimer's.

    so it is your choice, i wish i never, ever smoked i am 31 and some days i feel like i am 71, and i blame it all on smoking, but to each there own.

    if you want to smoke anything smoke :m:, i know it does more good then bad.(at least thats my 2 cents)
  18. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    marijuana is just as bad as cigarettes. The main problem with cigarettes is Tar, marijuana doesn't just have Tar but it also can cause diminished receptor sensativity* over prolonged and excessive use, the only people that don't of course see that are those too wasted on marijuana to care.

    [* diminished receptor sensativity refers to how constant, repetitive stimulation and over use can generate a "wear and tear" factor on receptors. This means that prolonged use would lessen the sensitivity of receptors, if not actually damage receptors which in hypothesis would cause other receptors to then be stimulated instead. This coupled with the way the brain tries to retrain and rebuild replacement neurological pathways can cause various psychological ailments such as (but not limited to), Memory Loss, Psychosis, general Schizophrenia and Bipolarism (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's could also occur through over stimulation and wear and tear of receptors, however this would have to be medically proven if applied to Marijuana use). Of course those that enjoy their marijuana really don't want to know any of this. ]

    Incidentally Nicotine cause receptor stimulation, again too much of something can be a bad thing. While a single cigarette can potentially cause neurological stimulation that could have positive effects for those that suffer Alzheimer's, it would require them to not have been an "addict" and over-user of Nicotine stimulation previously, otherwise the very activity of smoking cigarettes might of contributed to their condition.
  19. soullust Registered Senior Member

    Ok thats it, around noon I am so making a thread on :m:,

    and there was a recent study showing that weed may block alzheimers

    and many more, similar stories. Plus I know People who do and did much better in school why under the influence of weed, and they say this bull shit that weed will lead to the use of hard drugs like heroin, that has sence been proving wrong, and it has been shown to reduce use, but anyway, Oh the great Nixon and his Propaganda machine, went over drive when he outlawed Marijuana in around 1970-or 71 i think? all because he was against it, I mean he should have outlawed alcohol as well far more harm came from that through out all of mans history.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    This thread is 3 years old.
  21. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

    really slow trolls huh?

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