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Heart health: E-cigarettes just as, if not more, harmful than traditional cigarettes

Are e-cigarettes less harmful than conventional cigarettes that contain tobacco? From a cardiovascular point of view, at least, new research answers with a resounding "no." In fact, says one study author, "e-cigs may confer as much and potentially even more harm to users" than traditional cigarettes. Despite popular perception, e-cigarettes may not be a safer alternative to tobacco. In light of the recent lung injury outbreak that some researchers have linked to vaping products and electronic cigarettes, two new studies presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 in Philadelphia, PA, further highlight the potentially hazardous effects of e-cigarettes on health. The two new studies examine the effect of e-cigarettes on cardiovascular health, more specifically. In this respect, there appears to be insufficient evidence to draw a firm conclusion. However, the two new studies emphasize the possibility that e-cigarettes are just as, if not more harmful than regular cigarettes. Dr. Sana Majid, a postdoctoral fellow in vascular biology at the Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, is the lead author of the first study, which looked at cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose levels in cigarette smokers. Dr. Florian Rader, M.S., medical director of the Human Physiology Laboratory and assistant director of the Non-Invasive Laboratory at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, led the second study, which looked at heart blood flow. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)

Scientists propose new theory of Parkinson's disease

As scientists delve deeper into the nature of Parkinson's, the more it appears that it is highly varied, suggesting numerous subtypes. A new review proposes that Parkinson's falls into one of two main categories, depending on whether it originates in the central nervous system (CNS) or the peripheral nervous system (PNS). In a recent Journal of Parkinson's Disease paper, scientists from Denmark argue how results from imaging and tissue studies fit with a theory of Parkinson's that divides the condition "into a PNS-first and a CNS-first subtype." Parkinson's disease principally destroys dopamine cells in the brain's substantia nigra area. This is the part that controls movement. This damage gives rise to the most common symptoms, including tremors, rigidity, and balance difficulties. Parkinson's disease may also cause emotional changes, depression, constipation, sleep disruption, and urinary problems. The pattern of symptoms and their rate of progression can vary widely among individuals. A distinguishing feature of Parkinson's, however, is the accumulation and spread of toxic clumps of alpha-synuclein protein called Lewy bodies. These clumps are also hallmarks of dementia with Lewy bodies. (Credits: www.medicalnewstoday.com)