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The ONE Shocking Reason Smoking May Actually Be Good For Your Health.

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10864751 - glass ashtray with stubs . isolated over white background .
10864751 – glass ashtray with stubs . isolated over white background .

There are no ifs or buts. Smoking is horrible for your health. Right? There is not a single positive reason in the world to light up a cigarette, right? Well, it may not be quite as black and white as most of us think. Recently, a new study has come to light that suggests that smoking trends are linked to Parkinson’s disease.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that strikes about a million people in the U.S., with an additional 60,000 more new diagnoses every year. The disease presents symptoms that affect the nervous system, such as shaking, stiffness, tremors, slow movement and difficulty with balance.

This horrible disease has been rising for men in the U.S. over the last 30 years, and it is suspected that the reported numbers of patients that have Parkinson’s is extremely underestimated, according to James Beck, who is the vice president of scientific affairs at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

The new study was published on June 20 in the journal JAMA Neurology. It was led by Dr. Walter Rocca from Mayo Clinic, and tracked the long term data of people who live in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The study showed that the rates of men diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease was almost doubled between 1996 and 2005, and the increase was greatest for men aged 70 and up. A related condition called “parkinsonism” also showed great escalation between those same years.

Interestingly, women did not register the same increases that men did.

The researchers had the hypothesis that this increase is somehow linked to one of the most positive health trends around – the decrease in smoking cigarettes. The reason this calls for attention is because previous studies have suggested that smoking might actually reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s disease. Since smoking habits peaked in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and then had a steep decline in the decades afterwards, it appears connected to the higher rates of Parkinson’s that is emerging years later.

While this theory has not yet been proven, it certainly warrants further research, especially spreading out into other communities and populations. The scientists did admit that the Minnesota group was not particularly diverse ethnically, so it would be important to see if the data remained similar when analyzed in more ethnically diverse populations.

This is not a call for us to go out and smoke, but, this is one of several studies that show some kind of association between cigarette smoking and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, so it certainly is something that should be looked into and researched better.

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Sarah P

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  1. patgo
    May 21, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    Sounds like hogwash to me. Most likely the increase in Parkinson’s is due to the widespread practice of polypharmacy, which has increased exponentially. To the extent smoking is an added toxic burden on the body, it may prevent the body from detoxifying, while without the smoking, it might make the attempt. Detoxifying can cause some pretty bad symptoms if the body doesn’t do it properly. You have to supply the correct supplements to keep the body from detoxifying in a harmful way. NOT detoxifying will decrease longevity, perhaps drastically, but it won’t be due to Parkinson’s.

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