Smoking may cause brain damage

Examiner
29 Jun 2009
     

Debapriya Ghosh and Dr. Anirban Basu from the Indian National Brain Research Center (NBRC), have found that a compound in tobacco called NNK (4(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3?pyridyl)-1-butanone) causes white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe neurological damage. NNK is classified as precarcinogenic because it may become carcinogenic when it reacts with metabolites in the body..

NNK causes neuroinflamation in the brain in the mice studied. Neuroinflamation can lead to conditions like Multiple Schlerosis. NNK showed an increase in proinflamatory proteins and specifically cytokines that are messenger molecules between cells. NNK produced increased response from microglia, the brain's immune cells. Microglia normally destroy damaged cells but in the presence of NNK the microglia also attack "healthy" brain cells.

The study is far from conclusive but it reiterates the need to STOP SMOKING.

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Reference link: http://www.examiner.com/article/smoking-may-cause-brain-damage