Smoking is Good For You? The Link to Parkinson’s

I don’t know what to make of this one:

Data gathered in large cohort studies suggested that current smokers had a 77% lower risk for Parkinson’s disease compared with never smokers, the investigators wrote in the July issue of the Archives of Neurology.

The protective effect of smoking increased with pack-years smoked, and decreased with years since quitting.

“Our data support a dose-dependent reduction of Parkinson’s disease risk associated with cigarette smoking and potentially with other types of tobacco use, they wrote. “Importantly, effects seemed not to be influenced by sex or education.”

I wouldn’t advise that you start smoking, considering the other effects it has (ones that are FAR more common than Parkinson’s).  But, the data is interesting.  And it makes one wonder what exactly it is in cigarettes that IS aiding in the battle against Parkinson’s, and can we extract it so that the harmful effects of smoking can be avoided?

(hat tip:  Andrew Sullivan)


5 responses to this post.

  1. Where are the details of the studies published, if you know? Would love to dissect. Who the heck even studied such an effect and why I do wonder. Assuming ‘they’ did. Always suspicious and non-trusting anymore of these ‘studies’. Big Corps are all so connected in such seemingly evil ways anymore; I thought I had heard this on the news this morning, but it was about 5am and I assumed I was hearing things… still sleepy… hadn’t heard correctly.

    Guess I heard correctly.


  2. It was shocking to me too. And I certainly wouldn’t doubt that tobacco companies could be behind it. But, if they aren’t, it is very interesting.

    After all, alcohol consumption is largely bad for you, but some wines can be good for some (some) things. The world is full of paradox. And we’re left here to scratch our heads and try to figure it out.


  3. I read this on the Parkinson’s wiki page: “The average age at which symptoms begin in the U.S.A. is 58-60” Maybe smokers just tend to die before they are old enough to develop the disease.


  4. That’s a good question. What is the average life span of a smoker?


  5. This is from Wiki too:

    “A team of British scientists headed by Richard Doll carried out a longitudinal study of 34,439 medical specialists from 1951 to 2001, generally called the “British doctors study.”[30] The study demonstrated that smoking decreased life expectancy by 10 years and that almost half of the smokers died from diseases possibly caused by smoking (cancer, heart disease, and stroke). About 5,900 of the study participants are still alive and only 134 of them still smoke.”

    One would hope that the study in the OP would have accounted for that, but in doing so they might have biased their smoker selection to those who would live longer. (i.e. lighter smokers and those smokers who have other more healthy habits than average.)


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