Thursday June 20, 2019

Excess Smoking Can Not Just Cause Cancer But Also Blindness

Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers.

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"Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision," he said. Pixabay

While excessive smoking has been linked to various health issues, including heart disease and cancer, a new study has warned that smoking over 20 cigarettes a day can cause blindness.

The study from the Rutgers University noted that chronic tobacco smoking can have harmful effects on “spatial and colour vision”.

The findings, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, noted significant changes in the smokers’ red-green and blue-yellow colour vision. This suggests that consuming substances with neurotoxic chemicals, such as those in cigarettes, may cause overall colour vision loss.

Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers.

“Our results indicate excessive use of cigarettes, or chronic exposure to their compounds, affects visual discrimination, supporting the existence of overall deficits in visual processing with tobacco addiction,” said Steven Silverstein from the Rutgers’s Behavioral Health Care.

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Heavy smokers also have reduced ability to discriminate contrasts and colours compared with non-smokers. Pixabay

“Cigarette smoke consists of numerous compounds that are harmful, and it has been linked to a reduction in the thickness of layers in the brain, and to brain lesions, involving areas such as the frontal lobe, which plays a role in voluntary movement and control of thinking, and a decrease in activity in the area of the brain that processes vision,” he said.

For the study, the team looked at 71 healthy people who smoked less than 15 cigarettes in their entire lives and 63 people, who smoked over 20 cigarettes a day. The participants were in the 25-45 year age group.

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The study’s findings showed noticeable changes in the red-green and blue-yellow colour vision of the heavy smokers.

Previous studies had also pointed to long-term smoking as doubling the risk for age-related macular degeneration and as a factor causing lens yellowing and inflammation. (IANS)

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Smoking May Increase Risk of Developing Hypertension, Warn Researchers

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

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FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

Smoking may increase the risk of developing hypertension by impairing the body’s blood pressure autocorrect system, warn researchers.

“The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure. If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels,” said Lawrence Sinoway from Penn State University in the US.

An additional system — called the baroreflex — helps correct if blood pressure gets too high, he added.

According to Sinoway, the study found that after a burst of MSNA, the rise in blood pressure in a chronic smoker was about twice as great as in a non-smoker, pushing blood pressure to unhealthy levels. The researchers suspect that impairment of baroreflex may be the culprit.

“When the sympathetic nervous system fires, like with MSNA, your blood pressure rises and then a series of things happen to buffer that increase, to try to attenuate it,” Sinoway said.

“We think that in smokers, that buffering — the baroreflex — is impaired.”

Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay
Other than chronic diseases, lifestyle habits like smoking causes cancer too. Pixabay

The results suggest that this impairment may be connected to hypertension, said Jian Cui, Associate Professor at Penn State College of Medicine.

“The greater rise in blood pressure in response to MSNA may contribute to a higher resting blood pressure level in smokers without hypertension,” Cui said.

“It’s possible that this higher response to MSNA could also contribute to the eventual development of hypertension,” Cui added.

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The researchers said that while previous research has found a link between chronic smokers and higher levels of MSNA bursts, less was known about what happened to blood pressure after these bursts.

For the study, the researchers examined 60 participants — 18 smokers and 42 non-smokers. None of the participants had hypertension.

The results were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (IANS)