Smoking cigarettes is a significant risk factor for development of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of California at San Francisco.
Some studies have suggested that smoking may protect against Alzheimer's. However, researcher Janine K. Cataldo, Ph.D., and colleagues said that an analysis of previously published studies found that some of those articles were influenced by an affiliation with the tobacco industry, whereas independent studies found an increased risk of dementia associated with smoking.
Specifically, independent studies found, on average, that the risk of developing Alzheimer's was nearly doubled, whereas studies conducted by researchers with links to the tobacco industry showed a risk factor of .86, suggesting that cigarette use might help protect against the disease.
“We know that industry-sponsored research is more likely to reach conclusions favorable to the sponsor,” said study co-author Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D. “Our findings point to the ongoing corrosive nature of tobacco industry funding and point to the need for academic institutions to decline tobacco industry funding to protect the research process.”
The research was published in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.