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Smoking Linked to Lower Parkinson's Disease Risk

in individuals older than 75. In addition, while the association was strong in white and Asian-American individuals, no association was observed in Hispanic or African-American participants.

"The biochemical basis for possible preventative effects of smoking, or of a substance delivered through cigarette smoke, is not well understood, but animal studies have indicated two possible mechanisms: chemical or biochemical processes may exist by which substances contained in cigarette smoke such as nicotine or carbon monoxide exert a protective effect and promote survival of dopaminergic neurons; or cigarette smoke alters the activity of metabolic enzymes or competes with other substrates for these enzymes and thereby alters the production of toxic endogenous (dopamine quinones) or exogenous (MPP+) metabolites," the authors write.

"Ultimately, only randomized intervention trials can confirm that some components in tobacco are truly neuroprotective, negating the possibility that a premorbid personality influences smoking behavior among those who later develop Parkinson's disease," they conclude.

The report appears in the July issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.


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