Electronic cigarettes, long-term side effects discovered: this is how they inflame the brain, heart and colon

    Electronic cigarettes, long-term side effects discovered: this is how they inflame the brain, heart and colon

    The long-term effects of using e-cigarettes on the health of certain organs in our body were first observed in this study conducted in the United States.

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    While the negative effects of traditional cigarettes, which have been on the market for decades all over the world, are well known and evidenced by the scientific literature, those deriving from the use of electronic cigarettes have not yet been sufficiently investigated by scientists. This is because these devices have only caught on in the last five years, and the limited time frame has not allowed us to know the long-term effects of their use.

    Now a new study conducted by researchers at the San Diego School of Medicine at the University of California tries to investigate the negative consequences associated with the use of electronic cigarettes in the long term, with particular attention to some organs of our body (brain, heart, lungs , colon).

    The researchers investigated the effects of JUUL devices - the most popular in the United States, mostly used by boys between the ages of 18 and 24 - and its most popular "flavors" (Mango and Peppermint). In fact, the harmful effects also vary depending on the liquid used as a flavoring inside the device - as well as, obviously, on the frequency of use of the cigarette.

    The most evident effects of inflammation have been found in the brain, where inflammatory markers are present in high quantities. Further neuro-inflammatory changes were recorded within the Nucleus accumbens - the brain region that regulates motivation and reward mechanisms.

    The Nucleus accumbens also plays an important role in the mechanisms of strengthening habits, in the processing of feelings of pleasure but, above all, in the creation of addictions and in the onset of negative emotions - such as fear and anxiety. In short, changes in this region of the brain are responsible for the dependence that people have on the substances analyzed.

    Considering that most e-cigarette users are very young and still have developing brains, it is not difficult to imagine the potentially devastating effects of e-cigarette use on overall health and the development of severe addiction. .

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    But it is not only the brain that is involved in the most intense inflammatory phenomena: even in the colon, after only one month of using the electronic cigarette, inflammatory gene expression would increase - with an increase in the risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases. Conversely, the heart has lower than normal levels of inflammatory markers, which could make the heart tissue more vulnerable to infection.

    Finally, the researchers looked at the health of the lungs - the organs most directly involved in smoking. Well, even if the lungs of e-cigarette smokers show no signs of tissue inflammation, important changes in gene expression have been observed, the long-term effects of which require further study to be fully understood.

    As mentioned at the beginning, not all flavoring liquids are the same and have the same effects on the health of those who smoke them. For example, the use of a mint-flavored liquid would result in greater vulnerability to pneumonia (such as that related to the Coronavirus) than the mango-flavored liquid. This happens because each organ has its own balance, which can also be affected by a single chemical substance rather than another.

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    Source: eLife

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