Monday, May 17, 2010

Smoking bad for health… and allergies

A chain-smoking Noynoy Aquino cuts out a smudgy role model for a leader, so like a Fidel Castro or a Winston Churchill with their cigars huffing and puffing to put their lives on the line and away. And maybe they were also shutting off their allergies.

A recent study shows that cigarette smoke can curb allergies by decreasing the reaction of immune cells to allergens.

Indeed, smoking is murderous to one’s health, unleashing lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and impair the body’s fighting capacity against infections. Lost somehow in the swirl of dire effects, smoking cigarettes has a surprising benefit: cigarettes can protect smokers from certain types of allergies.

A study plied by Neil Thomson, a member of Faculty of 1000 Biology and leading expert in the field of respiratory medicine, shows that cigarette smoke decreases the body’s allergic response. The puffs and huffs inhibit the activity of mast cells, the major players in the immune system's response to allergens.

Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that treatment of mast cells with a cigarette smoke-infused solution prevented the release of inflammation-inducing proteins in response to allergens, without affecting other mast cell immune functions.

Researchers took mast cells from mice for the tests, but then again, they contend it is likely the same anti-allergy effect will hold true in humans.

Shutting off equally murderous allergies with cigarette smoke isn’t advisable for those who want to follow in the footsteps of an Aquino, Castro or Churchill— ruthless dictators such as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Ferdinand Marcos detested smoking. However, the Utrecht study findings are "consistent with a dampening of allergic responses in smokers."

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