The Newsroom    Published Monday, Nov. 1, 2010, 10:45 AM
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Study: Smoking doubles dementia risk

Beaumont Enterprise, October 30, 2010

Researchers in Finland recently found heavy smoking, defined as more than two packs of cigarettes per day, in middle age people can more than double a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia two decades later. Dr. Rodrigo Kuljis, a professor in the neurology department at UTMB Health, said the research is important because doctors still have plenty of questions about what causes dementia. Nothing the researchers found was surprising, he said, because some common causes of dementia — like high blood pressure and stroke — can be tied back to smoking. Health professionals for years found smoking can lead to strokes, which Kuljis said has been known to cause vascular dementia. People with vascular dementia generally have problems with the blood supply in their brains, he said. Though the study sheds light on a possible risk factor for dementia, Kuljis said it still does not answer the question doctors have been trying to answer for years: what causes Alzheimer’s disease? “There’s probably no such thing as Alzheimer’s disease in the sense of talking about one disorder or condition, it’s probably a collection of diseases that look alike,” he said. “That’s our problem — we’re talking about curing Alzheimer’s disease which requires finding the cause. There’s probably no such thing as ‘the cause.’”

 




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