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Study shows nicotine spray helping smokers quit

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Smokers have discovered an innovative new mouth spray which is helping them kick the habit.

It’s part of an Otago University study to test the effectiveness of taking nicotine mouth spray, together with patches. The spray kills a smoker’s craving for a cigarette.

The study, based in Christchurch and Wellington, is aimed at testing the effectiveness of using patches which release a small continuous dose of nicotine, together with the mouth spray. It reduces cravings within minutes.

Those behind the study say it’s so far proven very successful – half of the smokers involved gave up within three months. That rises to 65 percent at six months. Some giving up have only been having a placebo, because only half taking part are getting the active spray.

The organizers are looking for more people to take part. They don’t know yet when the spray will be on the market.



Smoking during pregnancy affects genes involved in brain development

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CHARLOTTESVILLE — New research from the University of Virginia Health System shows that nicotine use during pregnancy affects genes important in the formation and mechanism of myelin, a fatty brain substance that insulates brain cell connections in regions of the brain associated with neurobehavioral development.

The findings, presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, may explain why the children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to develop such psychiatric disorders as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, autism and drug abuse.

Researchers found that when rodents were given nicotine during pregnancy, their offspring showed changes in myelin genes in specific regions of their brain's limbic system – structures involved with emotion. The effect was strongest in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain important for decision-making.

"Our research shows that gestational treatment with nicotine significantly modifies myelin gene expression in specific brain regions that are involved in behavioral processes," says Ming Li, a professor in the U.Va. Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, who led the study. "Myelin deficits have been observed in adults with various psychiatric disorders. Our findings suggest that abnormal myelination may contribute to the psychiatric disorders associated with maternal smoking."

Previous research has shown that maternal smoking during pregnancy has various long-lasting neurobehavioral effects on offspring, Li said. Many psychiatric disorders associated with smoking during pregnancy begin or change symptomology during adolescence, a period of continuous development of the central nervous system. Most of these disorders are thought to be mediated by dysfunction of the limbic system, a collection of brain nuclei that mature during adolescence.

Li's research team also identified gender differences in nicotine's effects. Myelin-related genes increased in the prefrontal cortex of the male offspring but decreased in the females. The opposite was observed in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, a brain region involved in the regulation of stress and appetite, among other functions.

"These findings suggest that maternal smoking may affect daughters and sons differently," Li said.

In addition, the substantial and long-lasting changes by the low dose of nicotine administered to rodents in the study imply that nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy may carry many of the same risks to children as does smoking during pregnancy.

"While further studies are necessary to determine a direct correlation of our initial findings," Li said, "our research lends weight to the necessity of educating women to smoking during pregnancy.



Tobacco and Liver Disease

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Cigarette smoking may induce certain cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, thereby increasing the susceptibility of smokers to the potentially hepatotoxic effects of some drugs, including acetaminophen. Smoking may also diminish the liver’s ability to detoxify dangerous substances, and it may affect the dose of medication required to treat a particular liver disease. Furthermore, cigarettes may worsen the course of alcoholic liver disease. Also, cigarettes have been associated with a possible increased incidence of liver cancer. And, as noted above, cigarettes may increase the risk of hepatotoxicity of certain drugs, such as NSAIDs.  Therefore, people with liver disease should refrain from cigarette smoking.

There is no conclusive evidence that other forms of tobacco use, such as pipe and cigar smoking or the use of chewing tobacco, have an adverse effect on the liver. However, it is likely that these forms of tobacco have effects on the liver that are similar to those from cigarette smoking. Therefore, it is recommended that people with liver disease refrain from using these forms of tobacco as well.

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All subjects in this section are prepared by Dr. Nasim Lavasani Pham.D of Tehran Medical University.

Send your request to lavasani@dentii.info .