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Monday, April 9th 2007

Coffee & Cigarettes


These Friends Of Writers Have Some Health Benefits

Do coffee and tobacco use decrease the risk of Parkinson’s? So implies an Annals of Neurology published study.

People with Parkinson’s disease are less likely to be smokers and coffee drinkers than their healthy siblings, according to a study of family members. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that some substance in tobacco might protect the brain against this devastating neurological disorder and sheds new light on coffee’s effects on the disease.

The team found that the Parkinson’s patients were about 40% less likely to have ever smoked than their healthy relatives, and 50% less likely to be long-term smokers, with roughly 10% smoking for more than 30 years, compared with 15% of their healthy counterparts.

Scientists have…found some evidence that a substance in tobacco smoke may boost dopamine levels by blocking the production of toxins that poison dopamine-producing cells (see Why the wicked weed wards off Parkinson’s).

But Scott cautions that the relationship between Parkinson’s and smoking may not be a simple one of cause and effect. The biology of certain people’s brains who develop Parkinson’s disease may simply make them less likely to become addicted to cigarettes, he says.

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