It is finally official. Smoking is not good for you in any way, shape or form. A new study rules out the last remaining claim that nicotine in cigarettes may have at least some health benefits. California researchers say they are absolutely certain that nicotine does not prevent Alzheimer's disease, as some scientists had suspected.
The final excuse for smoking -- that it might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease -- has just been stubbed out, findings from an animal study suggest.
Past animal and human studies have indicated that nicotine exposure inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, a key feature of Alzheimer's disease.
However, the new study shows that chronic nicotine use appears to worsen the effects of a brain protein called tau, which is responsible for the fibrous tangles that are the other hallmark of the disease.
So, at best, the effects of nicotine are probably canceled out, according to the researchers.
Dr. Frank M. LaFerla, from the University of California at Irvine, and colleagues administered nicotine to a genetically engineered strain of mice that develops Alzheimer's disease.
Nicotine treatment produced an increase in nicotine receptors in the animals' brains that correlated with a dramatic rise in the aggregation and activity of the tau protein.
This indicates that the disease-causing effects of tau were worsened, the team reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Moreover, in these experiments, chronic nicotine administration had no effect on levels of soluble amyloid, the researchers point out.
The results emphasize the importance of assessing nicotine's affects on all aspects of the disease, they write.
"Our findings suggest that the use of nicotine as a potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease should be reevaluated."
About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for sharing empowering information to help improve personal and planetary health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies' products. In 2010, Adams launched TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and martial arts training. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including NaturalPedia.com and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org
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