Smoking linked to increased brain lesions and brain shrinkage in MS

Aug 17, 2009

People who smoke and have multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at increased risk of brain shrinkage and increased brain lesions related to the disease, according to a study published in the August 18, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Smoking has already been linked to an increased risk of developing MS.

Researchers studied 368 people in New York with an average age of 44 who had been diagnosed with MS for an average of 12 years. Participants underwent and were asked about their history. Of the group, 240 were non-smokers, 96 were current and 32 were past smokers. Current smokers were considered people who smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day in the three months leading up to the study and past smokers were those who smoked for at least six months sometime before the start of the study. The average current smoker in the study had been smoking for 18 years.

The study found that smokers with MS had a greater breakdown of the barrier between the brain and blood and had nearly 17 percent more brain lesions on their scans compared to non-smokers with MS. Smokers with MS had 13 percent larger ventricles and a smaller brain size compared to non-smokers with MS.

"These results show that smoking appears to quite literally injure the in a person with and increases the risk of disease severity and progression," said study author Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, Associate Professor with State University of New York School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in Buffalo. Zivadinov is also the Director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, the Jacobs Neurological Institute and a member of the American Academy of . "Our study stresses the importance of anti-smoking education in schools, where many smokers start, and more targeted programs to help people with MS to quit smoking so they can have a better quality of life."

The study also found that smokers were likely to have more problems with motor functioning, such as walking and taking part in daily activities, than non-smokers.

Source: American Academy of Neurology (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers tie unexpected brain structures to creativity—and to stifling it

Related Stories

Young smokers increase risk for multiple sclerosis

Feb 23, 2009

People who start smoking before age 17 may increase their risk for developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting ...

Smokers are more likely to develop dementia

Sep 04, 2007

People who smoke are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia than nonsmokers or those who smoked in the past, according to a study published in the September 4, 2007, issue of Neurology.

Smoking marijuana impairs cognitive function in MS patients

Feb 13, 2008

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who smoke marijuana are more likely to have emotional and memory problems, according to research published February 13, 2008, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the ...

Teen smokers have attention deficit

Mar 23, 2007

A U.S. study finds that teen smokers have difficulty paying attention, with those whose mothers smoked while pregnant having the hardest time.

Recommended for you

Unlearning implicit social biases during sleep

6 hours ago

Can we learn to rid ourselves of our implicit biases regarding race and gender? A new Northwestern University study indicates that sleep may hold an important key to success in such efforts.

Deciphering dark and bright

6 hours ago

The human sensory systems contend with enormous diversity in the natural world. But it has been known for a long time the brain is adapted to exploit statistical regularities that nonetheless arise amongst this diversity. ...

How we make emotional decisions

8 hours ago

Some decisions arouse far more anxiety than others. Among the most anxiety-provoking are those that involve options with both positive and negative elements, such choosing to take a higher-paying job in a ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.