Within the study cohort, 128 had a history of smoking: 96 were active smokers who had smoked more than 10 cigarettes-per-day in the three months prior to the study start, and 32 were former
smokers who had smoked cumulatively for at least 6 months sometime in the past. The remaining 240 participants had no active smoking exposure.
The average smoking duration was 17.6 years and the average number of cigarettes smoked per day was 17. There were no significant differences between smokers and nonsmokers based on age, disease duration, disease course and total lifetime use of disease-modifying drugs.
Analysis and comparison of the MRIs from smokers and nonsmokers showed that the smokers had significantly higher disability scores and lower brain volume than the nonsmokers. There also was a significant relationship between a higher number of packs-per-day smoked and lower volume of the neocortex, the portion of the cerebral cortex that serves as the center of higher mental functions for humans.
There were no significant differences in any of the clinical findings between active and former smokers.
Smoking appears to influence the severity of MS and to accelerate brain atrophy and the disruption of the blood-brain barrier in MS patients, said Zivadinov. MS patients should be counseled to stop smoking, or at least to cut down so they can preserve as much brain function as possible.
Additional researchers on the study, all from the BNAC or the JNI, were Milena Stosic, M.D., Nadir Abdelrahman, M.D., Barbara E. Teter, Ph.D., Frederick E. Munschauer, M.D., Sara Hussein, Jackie Durfee, Michael G. Dwyer, Jennifer L. Cox, Ph.D., Nima Hani, Fernando Nussenbaum and Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, M.D.
|Contact: Lois Baker|
University at Buffalo