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Wed, 21 Nov 2018
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Smoking

Syringe

Using tobacco plants to fight cancer

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© visualphotos.com
The divine tobacco plant
A personalized vaccine made using tobacco plants -- normally associated with causing cancer rather than helping cure it -- could aid people with lymphoma in fighting the disease, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

The treatment, which would vaccinate cancer patients against their own tumor cells, is made using a new approach that turns genetically engineered tobacco plants into personalized vaccine factories.

"This is the first time a plant has been used for making a protein to inject into a person," said Dr. Ron Levy of Stanford University School of Medicine in California, whose research appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This would be a way to treat cancer without side effects," Levy said in a statement. "The idea is to marshal the body's own immune system to fight cancer."

Comment: Or you could skip all that and just smoke the plant! Nicotine is best infused through smoking.


Health

New research shows associations between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the onset of allergic diseases in children

Allergic diseases appear more often in children who grow up near busy roads. This is the result of a study of several thousand children, now published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Under the direction of the Helmholtz Zentrum München, a German research group studied in a longitudinal study, over six years, whether associations are identifiable between the onset of atopic diseases and exposure to air pollutants originating from traffic. The scientists based their analysis, on the one hand, on the corresponding distance of the parental home to streets busy with traffic, and on the other hand, modeled values, for the respective residencial addresses of the children, of air pollution with fine dust, diesel soot and nitrogen dioxide.

Beer

Study links smoking bans to driving under the influence

Enacting city smoking bans appears to increase drunken driving, a study of arrests conducted by Wisconsin researchers asserts.

A national study to be released by the Journal of Public Economics found an increase of fatal accidents involving alcohol after communities prohibited smoking, compared to arrests in communities without a ban.

People

Quality of Life: French smokers abandon bars, clubs and restaurants for private parties



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©Unknown
Private smoking parties have flourished since the public ban came into force

Smokers in France are uniting to beat a ban on lighting up in public by organising open-house parties where they can puff on their Gauloises until the early hours.

The parties, held in flats and houses but also in clandestine clubs, often draw dozens of people for a drink, a chat, a dance and a cigarette. Some are paying, others are free, but all welcome the smokers who are deserting bars, bistrots and night clubs.

The movement has flourished since the introduction of a smoking ban in all public places on January 1, and has been compared to the speakeasies that secretly served alcohol during the Prohibition in the US in the 1920s. Internet networks have sprung up to link the partygoers and inform them of planned festivities.

Calculator

Big Pharma tries to cash in on smoking disease

For a long time, I've put the blame for the mass hysteria of the anti-tobacco movement on misguided zealots - loony and uninformed health nuts, clean air Nazis, and various other "do what we say is good for you - or else" types. But now, I'm starting to believe that the anti-smoking movement is being bolstered by my old adversary, Big Pharma.

Pills

Mind over matter: Anti-smoking drug linked to suicide

Would you take a wonder drug that offered to free you from decades of nicotine addiction? Even if other users reported sinister psychological side effects? For Derek de Koff, the answer was easy: after 12 years as a smoker, he was ready to try anything to kick the habit. Or so he thought...

I'd heard about Chantix, a relatively new drug from Pfizer that blocks nicotine from attaching to your brain receptors. That way, you stop receiving any pleasure from cigarettes at all. The drug, snuggling up to those receptors the same way nicotine does, reduces withdrawal cravings and unleashes a happy little wash of dopamine to boot. Wonderful things they can do nowadays.

My doctor wished me luck as he wrote out the prescription, telling me it was the single most important decision I'd ever make. I had the medication that night, 35 minutes after dropping into a pharmacy. While waiting, I gleefully chain-smoked Parliament Lights. One of Chantix's big perks is that you can smoke for the first seven days you're on it (most people take it for 12 weeks) more than enough time, I thought, to say goodbye to an old friend.

Info

Nicotine and Autism: Another study demonstrates nicotine's neurological benefits

Nicotine Receptors May Play Role In Development of Autism

Cholinergic nicotinic receptors, which have become a hot area for brain researchers, are linked to yet another psychiatric-neurological disorder - autism.

Deep inside the human brain, cholinergic nicotinic receptors are busy plying their trade, and one might view them as triple agents. They release the nerve transmitter acetylcholine from certain nerve ends, they receive it at others, and they can be stimulated by nicotine - yes, from cigarette smoking!

Comment: It is interesting to note the extreme lengths to which this article goes to in its wording (and in the original headline, retained here as a subheading), to disguise the conclusion that nicotine can be beneficial. If one was to read the article too quicky, one could easily go away with the impression that Nicotine is being cited as a cause of autism, rather than a cure.


Pills

Anti-smoking drug may have led to TV editor's suicide

A coroner has linked an anti-smoking drug to the death of a television editor who killed himself.

Omer Jama, 39, who worked for Sky Sports, was found dead at his home two months after being prescribed Champix to help him quit smoking.

Mr Jama had slashed his wrists and stabbed himself in the thigh and stomach, an inquest in Bolton was told.

Attention

Genetic link tied to smoking addiction

WASHINGTON - Scientists have pinpointed genetic variations that make people more likely to get hooked on cigarettes and more prone to develop lung cancer - a finding that could someday lead to screening tests and customized treatments for smokers trying to kick the habit.

The discovery by three separate teams of scientists makes the strongest case so far for the biological underpinnings of nicotine addiction and sheds more light on how genetics and lifestyle habits join forces to cause cancer.

Magnify

Philip Morris Experimenting with GMO Tobacco

Scientists have genetically modified tobacco plants to knock out a gene that helps turns nicotine into one of the carcinogens in cured tobacco.

The Philip Morris-funded North Carolina State researchers say the work could lead to less cancer-causing chewing tobacco. In large-scale field trials, they compared the levels of N-nitrosonornicotine, a chemical known as NNN, between GM tobacco plants and a control group. They found a six-fold decrease in NNN and a 50 percent overall drop in a whole class of nasty substances known as tobacco-specific nitrosamines.

Comment: Perhaps Philip Morris should leave the natural product be, to focus attention on the many artificial chemicals added to cigarettes and other tobacco products?