Tag Archives: smoking research studies

Smoking May Trigger Depression in Women

Smoking is widely known to damage the body but new Australian research suggests the addictive habit could be taking a toll on the mind too.

A study of more than a thousand women has found that females who smoke are more likely to develop major depression.

Heavy smokers – those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day – have almost double the risk of developing diagnosable depression than non smokers.

It has long been known that people with depression are more likely to smoke, but this longterm study is one of the first to suggest the habit may be triggering mental illness.

University of Melbourne researchers tracked healthy women for more than a decade, giving them a psychiatric assessment at the end.

“It was at this point we were able to determine if depression had developed and investigate whether or not smoking pre-dated the onset of depression,” said study leader Professor Julie Pasco.

Another study of 671 healthy women revealed 15 per cent of smokers went on to develop depression, compared to 6.5 per cent of non smokers.

“This shows us that non smokers were at lower risk for developing major depressive disorder, suggesting that smoking may play a role in the development of the disease in women,” Prof Pasco said. The findings gave grounds for greater efforts to encourage smokers to quit, she said.Anne Jones, chief executive of anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health, said the results were proof the effects of smoking extended beyond physical ills like cancer and heart disease.

“This is a very serious finding and yet another good reason to renew efforts to get Australians to give it up.

Smoking and Depression“We’ve got a blow-out in mental illness in Australia and here we’ve got a cause of mental illness that is being sold in every petrol station and corner store in the country,” Ms Jones said.

Australia’s smoking statistics are dropping but women are quitting at a slower rate than men.

“Mass media campaigns have not been effective at getting the message through to women that quitting is the best thing they can do for their health,” Ms Jones said.

Source: The Age

Toddlers Most Affected by Second Hand Smoke

Second hand smoke in the home appears to induce markers for heart disease as early as the toddler years.

Researchers reported this news at the American Heart Association 48th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in March.

It has long been known that many forms of cardiovascular disease in adults are initiated and progress silently during childhood. Now researchers have found a young child’s response to smoke may not just affect the respiratory system, but the cardiovascular system as well.

“This is the first study that looks at the response of a young child’s cardiovascular system to secondhand smoke,” said Judith Groner, MD, lead author of the study, pediatrician and ambulatory care physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Research Institute in Columbus, OH.The study included 128 children, 2 to 5 years old and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 14. Researchers found that the younger children absorbed six times more nicotine than the older children from the same levels of parental smoking. That exposure resulted in a dramatic increase of markers of inflammation and vascular injury signaling damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of the vessel walls.

Hair samples of the younger children had average nicotine levels of 12.68 nanograms per milligram of hair compared to adolescent group, which had 2.57 nanograms per milligram of hair. Toddlers had significantly higher levels of the inflammatory marker soluble intracellular adhesion molecules (ICAM).

“Toddlers in the homes of smokers not only had higher levels of nicotine, but also had higher levels of markers for cardiovascular disease in the blood,” said John Bauer, PhD, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “The dose of smoke is greater in toddlers than adolescents who are able to move in and out of the home. Toddlers are like a fish in a fishbowl. They are exposed at a higher dose. And it appears that toddlers also are more susceptible to the cardiovascular effects of smoke.”

Toddlers and a Fish BowlMost of the children in the study had varying levels of secondhand smoke exposure, measured by the number of adult smokers a child was exposed to in 24 hours. Researchers took hair samples to determine nicotine levels in the body and drew blood to determine endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) levels by flow cytometry. Endothelial progenitor cells replenish the endothelium and serve as a biological marker for vascular function.

Researchers also measured known inflammatory markers, such as ICAM, in the blood. “When we analyzed our data by looking at the relationships between the number of smokers in the home and the EPC levels, we found that in toddlers, there was an inverse relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and EPC prevalence,” Dr. Groner said. “In other words, the more smokers the toddler was exposed to, the fewer EPC cells were circulating in his bloodstream. This relationship was not present among the adolescents.”

The vascular endothelium (the inner lining of arteries and blood vessels) plays a key role in promoting cardiovascular health by maintaining the tone and circulation of the arteries. ICAM is a specific marker of endothelial cell stress, which contributes to artery clogging and atherosclerosis, raising the risk of heart disease.

“The combustion of the cigarettes appears to be causing endothelial damage which is reflected in the increase in soluble ICAM in exposed children,” Dr. Groner stated. “Toddlers who are in the vicinity of smokers in the home have a higher dose of tobacco chemicals. They live at home and can’t escape. Young children also breathe faster, taking more smoke into their respiratory system.”

Past studies found that the levels of EPC are lower in adult smokers. EPCs have not been studied previously in non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

This study indicates that cardiovascular effects of tobacco exposure in children are very similar to that of adults in the affect on the vascular wall, Dr. Groner said.

She noted the study is a “snapshot in time” and doesn’t give a long-term picture of the effects of secondhand smoke on the developing cardiovascular system of children.

“The results are intriguing, but further study is needed,” she said. “We’re not sure what happens to kids if they stay in a smoking environment or if they have multiple risk factors such as being overweight or having high blood pressure. Until then, parents and others should not smoke in homes with children, and should be especially attentive to this issue around toddlers.”

Other study authors were: Hong Huang, MD, PhD; Lisa Nicholson, PhD; Danielle Frock; Catherine Schroeder; and Jennifer Kuck, ACSM.

The Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute (FAMRI) funded the study.

Source: Advance

Smoking’s Effects on Genes May Play a Role in Lung Cancer Development and Survival

Smoking plays a role in lung cancer development, and now scientists have shown that smoking also affects the way genes are expressed, leading to alterations in cell division and regulation of immune response.

Notably, some of the changes in gene expression persisted in people who had quit smoking many years earlier.

These findings by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, appeared in the Feb. 20, 2008, issue of PLoS ONE.

“Smoking, we are well aware, is the leading cause of lung cancer worldwide,” said NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D. “Yet, a mechanistic understanding of the effects of smoking on the cells of the lung remains incomplete. This study demonstrates an important piece of this complicated puzzle. Greater understanding of the genetic alterations that occur with smoking should provide greater insight into the development of cellular targets for treating, and possibly preventing, lung cancer.”

“We were able to look at actual lung tissue, tumor and non-tumor, taking into account the differences by gender, verifying the smoking status by measuring levels of cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, in participants’ plasma, and confirming results in independent samples,” said Maria Teresa Landi, M.D., Ph.D., in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, the first author of the study report.

To investigate the effects of smoking on gene activity in lung tissue, the researchers examined the gene expression profiles — patterns of gene activity — in early-stage lung tumors and non-tumor lung tissue of smokers, former smokers, and people who had never smoked cigarettes. Gene expression was measured in 58 fresh-frozen tumor and 49 fresh-frozen non-tumor samples from 74 participants of the Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study, a large lung cancer study that was conducted in the Lombardy region of Italy.

Adenocarcinoma tumor samples were evaluated in this study because adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer, and it occurs in both smokers and people with no history of smoking. The participants were 44 to 79 years of age, and 28 were current smokers, 26 were former smokers, and 20 had never smoked. The researchers also obtained detailed medical information about the participants (for example, whether individuals had previous lung diseases or chemotherapy) and biochemically confirmed participants’ smoking status.

Using microarray techniques, which allow researchers to look at the activity of thousands of genes simultaneously, they identified 135 genes that were differently expressed in tumors of smokers vs. people who had never smoked. Among these genes, 81 showed decreased expression and 54 showed increased expression in tumor tissue.

Most of the genes showing significantly increased expression, e.g., TTK, NEK2, and PRC1, are involved in cell cycle regulation and mitosis. The cell cycle is a step-wise sequence of events in which a cell grows and ultimately divides to produce two progeny, or daughter, cells. During the cell cycle, the chromosomes of the parent cell are duplicated and then, in a step called mitosis, divided equally between the daughter cells, ensuring that each daughter cell inherits a complete set of chromosomes. The cell apparatus responsible for the proper division of chromosomes is called the mitotic spindle.

Picture of Lungs“Our results indicate that smoking causes changes in genes that control mitotic spindle formation,” said Jin Jen, Ph.D., in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, a senior author of the study report. “Irregular division of chromosomes and chromosome instability are two common abnormalities that occur in cancer cells when the chromosomes do not separate equally between the daughter cells. Therefore, changes in the mitotic process are very relevant in the development of cancer.” Several of the identified genes have been suggested in the past as potential targets for cancer treatment.

The researchers also found similar expression of many genes among current smokers and former smokers in tumor tissue. Several of these genes, such as STOM, SSX2IP, and APLP2, remained altered in participants who had quit smoking more than 20 years before the study. Therefore, smoking seems to cause long-lasting changes in gene expression, which can contribute to lung cancer development long after cessation.

Looking at non-tumor lung tissues, the team found decreased activity for 73 genes and increased activity for 25 genes in current smokers. The genes most affected by smoking play a role in immune response-related processes, possibly as a lung defense mechanism against the acute toxic effects of smoking. However, non-tumor tissues seem to be able to recover from the effects of smoking. The researchers did not identify significant changes in the immune response-related genes in former smokers.

To gain a better understanding of the impact of smoking-related changes in gene expression on lung cancer survival, the researchers compared the overall gene expression smoking profile in lung tumor and non-tumor tissues with survival. They found that the altered expression of the cell cycle-related genes NEK2 and TTK in non-tumor tissues was associated with a three-fold increased risk of lung cancer mortality in smokers.

“Our data provide clues on how cigarette smoking affects the development of lung cancer, indicating that the very same mitotic genes known to be involved in cancer development are altered by smoking and affect survival. More studies are needed to confirm that the gene expression changes are due to smoking and affect tumor development or progression,” said Landi. “If confirmed, these genes could become important targets for preventing and treating lung cancer.”

About 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and almost 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women can be attributed to smoking. In 2006, approximately 20.8 percent of U.S. adults were cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 438,000 deaths, or about one out of every five deaths each year.

For more information on research in Dr. Landi’s group, please go to http://dceg.cancer.gov/about/staff-bios/landi-maria.

For more information about the EAGLE study, please go to http://dceg.cancer.gov/eagle.

For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI website at http://www.cancer.gov/, or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.


Reference:
Landi MT, Dracheva T, Rotunno M, Figueroa, JD, Liu H, Dasgupta A, Mann FE, Fukuoka J, Hames M, Bergen AW, Murphy SE, Yang P, Pesatori AC, Consonni D, Bertazzi PA, Wacholder S, Shih JH, Caporaso NE, and Jen J. February 2008. Gene Expression Signature of Cigarette Smoking and Its Role in Lung Adenocarcinoma Development and Survival. PLoS ONE. Vol. 3, No. 2.

Universities Reject Funding From Tobacco Companies

“Just because it’s green, we don’t have to take it,” said Paula Murray, associate dean at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, to The New York Times.

Murray was referring to her school’s recent decision to cut off all funding from Philip Morris, a cigarette manufacturer that has donated over $308,500 to business schools like McCombs since 1989.

The University of Texas (UT) is just one of the many universities across the United States that have recently deemed contributions from tobacco companies “tainted.” On ethical grounds, these schools have decided to ban tobacco companies from funding university development and research.

Philip Morris, which has partnered with UT for many years, had been pressing for a more active role in the McCombs community. Although they already had a program set up to recruit business students as employees, they had asked for more interaction with the students. In December, the McCombs School decided to ban funding for student organizations and faculty research from companies that manufacture cigarettes.

“What it came down to for us was the ethical dimension,” said Dean of the McCombs School of Business George W. Gau, to The New York Times. “The leadership of the school felt that in some sense it was tainted money, that it is money gotten from a product that is significantly harming people.”

Other schools that have banned cigarette company funds include the University of North Carolina, the Universities of Iowa and Arizona, Louisiana State, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Ohio State.

At Stanford, a ban on contributions from cigarette companies was considered, but the idea was dropped after numerous protests from faculty researchers who feared they would not be able to support their research without those funds.

Robert Tisch, late chairman of the Loews Corporation, which produces five brands of cigarettes, including Newport, donated $10 million to fund cancer research at Duke University in 2006.

“The benevolence of the Preston Robert Tisch family will have an enormous impact upon the search for new brain tumor treatments,” Victor Dzau, president and CEO of the Duke University Health System said according to a Duke University news release. “Their contribution will enable Duke to recruit and retain the brightest researchers and will create tremendous promise for all cancer research at Duke.”

Just a year earlier, Duke accepted $15 million from cigarette company Philip Morris to fund the development of the new Comprehensive Cancer Center, which aimed to research ways to help people quit smoking.

Some questioned the tobacco company’s interest in funding a center for smoking cessation and worried that giving Phillip Morris ties to a cancer research center would allow them to tamper with the research.

“You know that saying ‘Bombing for peace is like f—ing for chastity’? Well funding cancer research with cigarette money is kind of like that,” said first-year biology and pre-veterinary major Grace Normann. “It’s paradoxical and unethical.”

“The argument for rejecting funding is that the tobacco industry has a 50-plus-year history of a corrupting influence on medical research,” said Dr. Michael J. Thun, the chief of epidemiological research at the American Cancer Society, to The New York Times.

Yet Duke remained insistent that the university’s scientists alone will control the direction of the research. They retain the right to publish results without having Philip Morris approve them.

“We were cautious in considering whether to accept this grant or not. We would not want to be part of any whitewashed effort,” said R. Sanders Williams, dean of the Duke medical school.

RJ Reynolds BuildingThe American Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to help smokers quit, provides grants to universities that wish to do research without accepting additional funding from tobacco companies. The foundation has granted over 300 grants, valued at over $150 million. to support research in tobacco prevention and related topics over the years.

“It’s one of those times where you ask ‘where do you draw the line?'” Director of Student Finances Anthony Gurley said. “If you decide not to accept money from tobacco companies, do you accept money from pharmaceutical companies or chemical companies?”

Ethical dilemmas such as this occur in many forms at colleges and universities across the country. At Guilford, Coke products were replaced by Pepsi products, though many students argued that this was a useless swap because Pepsi, like Coke, has been criticized for similar environmental and human rights violations.

The school has worked to accommodate the concerns of its students by considering ethical standards in their re-bidding of the dining contract. The current provider, Sodexho USA, has long been subject to ethical complaints.

“We make changes based on the responses of the students, and if it goes against something the college stands for,” said Dean for Campus Life Aaron Fetrow, “like the switch from Coke to Pepsi, or when students decided they didn’t want Starbucks so we made the switch to Green Mountain Coffee. We look for (solutions) that don’t harm the global environment and the world.”

Source: Lauren Newmyer, The Guilfordian

Cigarette Smoke Linked to Feline Lymphoma

Veterinary researchers have recently discovered the key factors linking the effects of second hand cigarette smoke to cats developing feline lymphoma, a deadly cancer of the lymphatic drainage system.

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology on August 1st 2006, the study included 180 cats who were treated at Tufts Veterinary School’s Foster Hospital from the years 1993 and 2000.

The results of this university study indicated clearly that cats exposed to second hand smoke were at a significantly higher risk of developing lymphoma cancer.

It was shown that cats living in peoples homes where humans smoked at least a packet of cigarettes a day had more than three times the risk of developing lymphoma than cats in nonsmoking houses. It was also shown that an increased risk of developing lymphoma existed when higher numbers of smokers lived in the home.

Kitten PictureCats living with one household smoker had almost twice the risk, whilst cats living with two or more smokers in a household had nearly four times the risk of developing lymphoma cancer.

Ingestion of cigarettes is dangerous too and can even be deadly. Signs of ingestion and nicotine poisoning generally occur within 15-45 minutes of ingestion and include salivation, excitation, panting, vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of more serious intoxication include increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, muscle weakness, twitching, depression, collapse and coma.

Recommendations are, therefore, to go outside the house to smoke especially if you have cats indoors. Keep cigarettes, cigars, nicotine patches and nicotine gum out of reach from your pet. Please ensure ashtrays are clean at all times as the cigarette butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine content of a cigarette.

Dr David Brooks is part of the online veterinary team at WhyDoesMyPet.com. Veterinarians, Vet Technicians, Nurses, Trainers, Behaviorists, Breeders and Pet Enthusiasts are here to answer your pet questions and concerns Our dedicated community of caring experts are waiting to offer you advice, second opinions and support.

Source: From the “Why Does My Pet…?” Blog

Wanted: Those Who Want to Quit Smoking

The Chicago STOP Smoking Research Project is being conducted at the University of Chicago, in Hyde Park.

The goal of the study is to help you quit smoking and stay quit.

The study includes 6 counseling sessions, a one month’s supply of nicotine patches, and a 50% chance of receiving the study medication (naltrexone) or a placebo (sugar pill).

No Smoking SignParticipants receive travel reimbursements and $230 in financial compensation for completing study interviews and measures.

We will enroll participants between June, 2006 and August, 2008. If you are interested in the study, please go to the following link for more information and learn about other studies in your area:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=965032216171

For more information visit their website:

http://stopsmoking.uchicago.edu