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Smoking can damage teenage brains permanently: VU research

Monday 21 February 2011

Smoking can cause permanent damage to adolescent’s developing brains, according to VU university researchers in the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience magazine.

It is the first time that the effect of nicotine on adolescent brains has been researched and the results show smoking can ‘lead to cognitive impairments in later life’.

This could mean that people who start smoking at a young age could have
‘lasting attentional disturbances’, the researchers said.

Rats

The team carried out their experiments on young rats but say the effect can be translated to humans because of the similarities between the rat and human brains.

The rats which had been given nicotine while adolescents performed between 5% and 10% worse than a control group in tests at a later age. But rats given nicotine as adults showed no difference in performance.

‘Translating this to the human situation, we are talking about youngsters who start smoking between the ages of 12 and 16,’ researcher Sabine Spijker told the Volkskrant.

‘They will become fine workers when they get older, but as soon as things get difficult or too much is asked of them, they drop out more quickly than others. Then they cannot stay focused.’

Nicotine also makes young rats more impulsive.

© DutchNews.nl



 

Readers' Comments

How about fumes from the cars? Chemically treated food or chemical industry as such?
In the past, plastic cases where fruits and vegetables are enclosed were also found guilty for creating health problems.
p.s. If smoking is such a health danger what DO they still sell it EVERYWHERE? BAN IT!

By pepe | 21 February 2011 8:10 AM

Imagine all the young kids who might suffer from this living near 2nd hand smoke.

By AW | 21 February 2011 9:31 AM

People that have lived for many years next to busy congested roads are more at risk than smokers. Combine that with regular doses of fast food, cola, & shift work and expect to get serious health problems in your early 50's.
Smoking is a great scapegoat for tax increases, rising medical costs and scaremongering.
Don't forget that there is a small difference between a rat's brain & a human brain!

By The visitor | 21 February 2011 12:36 PM

This report is confusing in that it mentions both smoking and "given nicotine" without dosage and differentiation from inhaled non-nicotine smoke, a far more serious cause of brain damage.

By Herman Rutner | 21 February 2011 5:05 PM

Is smoking a severe health risk? Yes it is.

Why do they still sell them then? Because governments make a fortune from the tax revenue, and your income tax would increase if income from tobacco sales ended.

Does all this give non-smokers the right to lecture smokers and treat them like pariahs? No; please seek help for your superiority complexes and accept that we all have the right to choose for ourselves how to live our own lives without interference.

By osita | 21 February 2011 6:29 PM

Always knew that all smokers have a bit of
brain damage. It's so obvious.

By George | 21 February 2011 9:58 PM

Explains a lot about smokers and confirms what most observers knew all along anyway.

By U92 | 26 February 2011 6:01 AM

This article does not provide enough evidence and not enough research was done to prove it. I do believe that smoking does affect the human body and possibly the brain but sufficient research has not been conducted. Had they done a detailed study of adolescents who smoked and compared the results against teens who don’t then their claims would be justified. This type of experiment would be able to be replicated and documented so there no reason why this article cannot be verified.

By raymond | 15 March 2011 5:55 AM

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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