Standardized cigarette packaging can deter smokers

We all know that smoking and drinking alcohol adversely affects our health, but do know how badly they affect? Researchers studying the effect of smoking and drinking have found they are even more dangerous than previously thought. Both excess cigarettes and excess alcohol can permanently change our DNA leading to accelerated premature ageing.

Ironically, people who consumed alcohol moderately like one to two drinks per day were found to have healthiest ageing while people who either consumed very less amount of alcohol or high amount of alcohol, both were recorded with accelerated premature ageing. When it comes to cigarette, eve slightest amount of smoking causes premature ageing.

Researchers explained biological ageing as a phenomenon of progressive decline in body’s ability in meeting the physical demands over time. It occurs due to damage at cellular level. Both, environmental and genetic factors determine the rate of biological ageing.

In the study, researchers calculated difference between biological age and chronological age to determine premature ageing and delayed ageing and effect of alcohol and smoking over them. They found that smoking is dangerous to health and even slightest amount of smoke including passive smoking causes accelerated premature ageing.

For the study, researchers collected data from “Gene Expression Omnibus” which is publicly available. The study authors observed changes in DNA patterns. Previous studies on changing DNA patterns suggest that DNA changes in a predictable manner for ageing people and in response to smoke and alcohol.

“Being able to objectively identify future smokers and heavy alcohol users when they are young can help providers and public health practitioners improve quality of life and reduce medical costs,” Dr Robert A Philibert from University of Iowa said.

Scientists are looking forward to see changes in DNA patterns in response to type of lifestyle and changes in lifestyle which help scientists in better understanding how these changes occur and what can be done to prevent or accelerate these changes.

The findings appeared at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2015 annual meeting in Baltimore this week.

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