The harm of smoking persists forever
A new danger of smoking has been found
Scientists from Harvard Medical School found that smoking causes long-term changes in gene activity, NBC News reports (recounting the materials of the press release of the American Cardiological Association Smoking leaves historical “footprint” in DNA – VM). Geneticists came to this conclusion by studying the methylation processes – the addition of a methyl group (CH 3) to DNA – in 16 thousand people.
Experts analyzed blood samples from participants in various studies that were conducted before 1971. The scientists studied data from their questionnaires, where patients indicated what their diet was, whether they smoked, whether they followed a healthy lifestyle and what diseases they had.
It was found that many smokers had changes in methylation, which affected the activity of seven thousand genes associated with heart disease and the formation of cancerous tumors. In those who quit smoking, most of the DNA returned to normal after about five years, but some of the changes affecting 19 genes (including TIAM2, which affects the development of lymphoma) persisted for 30 years.
According to scientists, this indicates that former smokers, even decades later, remain at risk of developing diseases such as certain types of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke.
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