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Smoking damages mouse brains

Signs of Alzheimer’s disease appear after rodents breathe cigarette smoke

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11:06am, February 19, 2013

Cigarette smoke damages the lungs, but it also wreaks havoc in the brain, a study in mice suggests. Signs of Alzheimer’s disease increased in the brains of animals that breathed cigarette smoke for four months, scientists report February 19 in Nature Communications.

The relationship between smoking and Alzheimer’s in people is murky. Some evidence from the 1990s suggested that smoking actually protected people against Alzheimer’s, presumably by stimulating nicotine-detecting brain cells. More recent studies have found that smoking ups the odds of the disease.

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