London: Warning for Smokers! A new study has suggested that smoking could play a direct role in the development of schizophrenia, and cigarette lovers were likelier to develop the disorder and at a younger age. Researchers at King’s College London analysed 61 separate studies and suggested that nicotine in cigarette smoke may be altering the brain, and though it was a “pretty strong case, more research was required, the BBC reported.
The data indicated that 57 percent of people with psychosis were already smokers when they had their first psychotic episode, and daily smokers were twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as non-smokers. It was also found that smokers developed schizophrenia a year earlier on average, and when it comes to the debate if there’s a higher rate of smoking before schizophrenia is diagnosed, then smoking is not simply a case of self-medication.
Dr James MacCabe said that it was hard to establish causation with this style of study, and they hoped that it would lead to other researches and clinical trials that would help to provide firmer evidence. While most smokers do not develop schizophrenia, the researchers believe it add to the risk as nicotine altered levels of the brain chemical dopamine, which has already been implicated in the psychosis.
The study is published in the Lancet Psychiatry.