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Tobacco May Protect Against Parkinson’s Disease

Who would have ever thought that tobacco could benefit one’s health. It turns out that a virus found in tobacco could actually help people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Louisville the virus found in tobacco, and several other agricultural products such as spinach and tomatoes, could very well help individuals fight off the disease.

Researchers from the University of Louisville’s departments of Neurology and Physiology found that men who smoked had antibodies to the tobacco mosaic virus or (TMV). These antibodies could interact with a protein in a cell’s energy generation system to prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease.

The research team used 60 men comprised of 20 smokers, 20 smokeless tobacco users and 20 non-tobacco users. The research found the highest levels of TMV antibodies in the men who smoked.

“It is quite remarkable that a plant that creates so many health problems for people may harbor a virus that has a protective role for people,” said Robert Friedland, the studies senior author and M.D. professor of neurology at the University of Louisville.

“We still have a significant amount of research to undertake to determine what mechanisms may be involved,” said Friedland. “However it is valuable to consider potential implications of plant viruses to human health and disease.