A few puffs of cigarette as a teenager changed your brain

On the dangers of cigarette smoking has already been said a lot. Everyone knows the negative impact of nicotine and tobacco smoke on respiratory, nervous and cardiovascular systems. However, a recent study by American scientists suggests that even a couple of cigarette puffs in adolescence cause irreversible changes in the brain that can lead to not the most pleasant consequences in the future.

A few puffs of cigarette as a teenager changed your brain

is the main danger of cigarettes What

Besides harmful tar and combustion products, the major hazardous substance contained in cigarettes is nicotine. Nicotine - a strong neuroactive substance, that is, its purpose is to brain cells. In addition, nicotine also causes a very strong dependence. This happens, in general terms, as follows: in the brain has specific nicotinic receptors, acting on which is released a special substance called dopamine. Dopamine is also called the "hormone of joy", since his separation a person experiences a pleasant sensation.

Where did these receptors in the brain? It's simple: the fact that nicotine and nicotinic acid - a necessary food to sustain our body and they are normally synthesized in smaller quantities. However, during smoking of the substance concentration in the blood rises and occurs in times "substitution" nicotine formed in the body, on nicotine, coming from the outside. Thus is formed and nicotine addiction.

See also: "junk" DNA can cause drug dependence

The dangerous presence of nicotine addiction

The new study, conducted by Dr. Bader Chaarani from the University of Vermont, and published in the Biological Psychiatry journal: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, has shown that teenagers who smoked only a few cigarettes, had fewer synapses in the brain than their peers who had never smoked . Synapses - are special structures that are responsible for the interconnection of the brain and its structures with each other. Roughly speaking, the more of them - the better and more productive work our brains. This may mean that the brains of adolescent smokers will develop and function in a different way, which may affect the decision-making and self-control in adulthood.

In addition, adolescence is a very vulnerable period of development, during which the effects of nicotine may fundamentally change the operation of the entire central nervous system. The effects of nicotine on the adult has a less negative impact. This is due to the fact that our brain develops in the first three decades of life. During this maturation period is a reorganization of brain circuits, particularly those involved in reward function (dopamine already mentioned) and in the process of thinking and perception.

In this study we showed that smokers adolescent symptoms of nicotine dependence occur at lower levels of nicotine than those of adults who start smoking at the end of the second decade of life.

The essence of the

The research group of Dr. Chaarani scored more than 600 adolescents aged 14 years and count the number of cigarettes smoked per participant of the experiment. Among them were those who had never smoked and those who smoked 40 or more cigarettes.

The researchers studied the brain of each of the young people with the help of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These images were used to estimate the volume of gray matter of the brain that allows you to measure how well connected to each other certain parts of the brain. Dr. Chaarani and the team found that even smoking of several cigarettes caused a significant decrease in the volume of gray matter, and hence the reduction in the number of neuronal connections. Thus, the greater the number of cigarettes smoked adolescents the higher observed reductions in gray matter of the brain. By the way, these changes are also recorded and those with drug and alcohol addiction.

At the moment, scientists have focused on how to better understand the effect of nicotine on the brain of adolescents. In addition, experts warn that the "source" of nicotine does not matter. On the brain in the same degree of influence as the nicotine from tobacco products and nicotine obtained from electronic cigarettes.

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