For years, scientists studying the brain have quarreled over whether smoking protects people from such diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
After all, the theory went, nicotine stimulates the brain, so it should help fight off brain diseases.
A new study from the Netherlands Tuesday cast doubt on that theory, finding that smokers in fact suffered higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease than nonsmokers.
“We found no indication that smoking protects against Alzheimer’s,” said Alewijn Ott, a scientist at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. “On the contrary, smokers were at increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The study was presented at the 49th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology here.