Smoking linked to increased brain lesions and brain shrinkage in MS

August 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)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Brain training can improve our understanding of speech in noisy places

October 19, 2017
For many people with hearing challenges, trying to follow a conversation in a crowded restaurant or other noisy venue is a major struggle, even with hearing aids. Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on October 19th ...

Investigating the most common genetic contributor to Parkinson's disease

October 19, 2017
LRRK2 gene mutations are the most common genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD), but the normal physiological role of this gene in the brain remains unclear. In a paper published in Neuron, Brigham and Women's Hospital ...

Brain takes seconds to switch modes during tasks

October 19, 2017
The brain rapidly switches between operational modes in response to tasks and what is replayed can predict how well a task will be completed, according to a new UCL study in rats.

Researchers find shifting relationship between flexibility, modularity in the brain

October 19, 2017
A new study by Rice University researchers takes a step toward what they see as key to the advance of neuroscience: a better understanding of the relationship between the brain's flexibility and its modularity.

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Want to control your dreams? Here's how

October 19, 2017
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening ...

0 comments

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.