Thursday, February 19, 2009

Link Between Secondhand Smoke and Dementia

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal has found a link between high exposure to secondhand smoke and dementia in adults over age 50. The risk of dementia, which is a term used to describe a group of symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain, increases when the risk of heart disease and stroke increase. Smoking cigarettes and exposure to significant amounts of secondhand smoke increase a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke because inhaling smoke disturbs the natural flow of blood to the brain, making one of these occurrences more likely. The study is the first to look at the link between secondhand smoke exposure and dementia on such a large-scale, including almost 5,000 non-smokers over age 50.

Researchers from Britain’s Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan worked together, testing the saliva of study participants for cotinine, which is produced by nicotine, and taking a detailed smoking history. If a participant’s saliva contained high levels of cotinine, this meant that they had recently been exposed to significant amounts of secondhand smoke. The researchers then analyzed the brain function and cognitive impairment of each participant using neuropsychological tests, revealing that participants with high levels of cotinine in their saliva were almost 45 percent more likely to exhibit signs of dementia and cognitive impairment than those with extremely low levels of cotinine.

Many places around the world have recently seen smoking bans implemented in restaurants, bars and other public places. By doing this, governments are hoping to encourage people to quit smoking and keep non-smokers away from secondhand smoke, reducing the harmful effects that this exposure may have. Smoking and secondhand smoke can both lead to serious health problems, including lung and other types of cancer, heart disease, stroke, asthma complications, pneumonia and bronchitis. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a delay in diagnosing or treating cancer, heart attack or stroke, our cancer malpractice attorneys can help. Your initial consultation is FREE and there is NO FEE to you unless we recover money. Please call us today or submit an instant inquiry now and we will respond within 24 hours. Our firm serves clients in the New York area with Bronx medical malpractice, Brooklyn medical malpractice, Queens medical malpractice, Nassau medical malpractice and Suffolk medical malpractice cases.

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