It is known that depression is associated with cigarette smoking, but the nature of this association is discussed under various hypotheses. First, according to the so called self-medication hypothesis, those who suffer from depressive symptoms smoke cigarettes in order to alleviate their symptoms. According to the second assumption, chronic persistent smoking may have a role in the etiology of depression. The third hypothesis suggests that there is a reciprocal mechanism between smoking and depression. The fourth hypothesis says that there are shared underlying genetic factors explaining this co-morbidity.
This study conducted in the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki explored, which of those assumptions would be supported by the data, when smoking behavior and changes in it is considered as a predictor of depressive symptoms. The researchers had access to the data collected within the Finnish Adult Twin Cohort Project. There were about four thousand male and five thousand female twins, whose health and health behavior were followed-up through 15 years.
Data on smoking behavior and changes in it between 1975 and 1981 were analyzed as a predictor of depressive symptoms measured in 1990. The analyses were adjusted for other factors known to predict depression. Because the data consisted of twins it was possible to test the causality between smoking and depression by using twin pairs discordant for depression, where the twin without depression served as a matched control for his/her co-twin with depression. Additionally, it was possible to explore potential shared genetic influences underlying the association.
The results suggest that first, persistent chronic cigarette smoking predicts depressive symptoms. However, when adjusted for other factors associated with depression, the elevated risk of persistent smoking remained significant among men only. ”The result that chronic smoking may actually have a role in the etiology of depression, may be surprising, as nicotine as such – in short term – is assumed to have some positive effects on mood”, says Dr. Tellervo Korhonen from the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki, and continues: ”We should look for explanation to our result from long term effects of cigarette smoking, from addiction mechanisms and from other substances than nicotine within tobacco smoke.”
Secondly, there was evidence suggesting that those smokers who had quit had elevated depression risk in relatively short term. The association of quitting smoking and depressive symptoms gives us indirect evidence on the self-medication hypothesis. Dr. Korhonen emphasizes, however, the further evidence within the same study showing that those smokers who had quit successfully and remained abstinent through the follow-up did not have elevated depression risk compared to the never smokers. This may reflect a relatively long recovery process from the adverse effects of cigaret1te smoking.
”The mechanisms underlying the association between smoking and depression are very complicated. Although nicotine as such may have short term positive effects on concentration and possibly on mood, long term exposure to tobacco smoke may be one risk factor in development of depression. However, this mechanism is still relatively unknown. Thus, there is need for further research and evidence in order to make an unambiguous statement that ‘smoking cigarettes cause depression’. Examination of potential shared genetic vulnerability for both tobacco dependence and depression is among the further challenges”, Dr. Korhonen is discussing the evidence so far. According to Korhonen, one can already say that – as in prevention of many other diseases – also in prevention of depression smoke-free life and successful smoking cessation seem to have a positive impact.
This report is based on a research article published in the Psychological Medicine –scientific journal. The authors include researchers from the University of Helsinki, the National Public Health Institute, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the Harvard University, Boston, USA.
Paivi Lehtinen | alfa
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences