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An unethical experiment

So, I seem to recall that smoking has a protective effect against Alzheimer’s. Of course, I can’t recall where I saw that (Ahahahahaha). Also, that it’s not just that smokers die before they live long enough to get Alzheimer’s.

But clearly telling every Granny to start smoking isn’t going to fly as a treatment.

Except, vaping. So, nicotine intake – which I guess is the protective thing? – without all the tars, sounds like a plan.

At which point, don’t we have something of a problem here? For I cannot imagine any ethics committee being willing to allow such research. Even the suggestion would have pearls clutched.

Which is, perhaps, a problem in trying to actually find out, no?

20 thoughts on “An unethical experiment”

  1. Except, vaping. So, nicotine intake…

    If nicotine is what you’re looking to investigate, there other delivery mechanisms available…

  2. Smart is relative, usually also needs a push to use that smarts to solve a problem. Environmental factors play a part, the Inuit living in an environment without big trees developed the kayak as canoes weren’t an option. Pretty smart response to environmental factors

  3. Witchie… Most likely yes on both counts.. Don’t confuse technology use with peeps actually being smart..
    And don’t forget that at least the southern and south-african tribes must have “invented” agriculture independently from the eurasian continent.. And all that other stuff that made their quite extensive city states/kingdoms/empires possible. Unless you go all Thor Heyerdal, of course.
    Even here in Europe we didn’t advance much, and at that even relatively slowly, until we threw away the idea that Religion had the Answer to Everything and tossed the Priests aside.
    Something the spanish and portuguese never quite managed…

    As for the research… Quite possible to do preliminary research on in vitro cultures, and the age where almost everyone smoked is not that far in the past..
    Should be pretty easy to build a statistical universe, followed up by some lab research before you get to the stage where you’d have to do “unethical” in-vivo studies.

  4. Not too damnit: apparently there’s some evidence that subSaharan Africans may have domesticated at least one crop. Though how you’d rule out their getting the idea, if not the crop, from Egypt I have no idea.

    Anyhoo: bugger vaping. Should old dears sniff snuff, puff on a stogie, enjoy a pipeful?

  5. I gave up cigs when they banned them on flights. My Norwegian buddy said why are you moaning just take snus. So I did and although it’s disgusting (brown spit) I enjoyed it. That flipped a switch ah. ..I like nicotine not cigs and I’m addicted…eff that. I note that the new equivalent of skol bandits that Edwina currie banned in the 80s are rife in the corners hops and because it has no tobacco it can legally be sold to kiddiwinks. The handwringers are already marshalling their ‘change the law’ efforts.

  6. Rename nicotine as summat else?
    Its what they do all the time.
    Call it something like niacin & stick itin breakfast cereal or nitric acid which high altitude climbers take to improve oxygen uptake.

    Serious point though – is it nicotine or is it nitric whatever, or is it the vegetable form in aubergines & tomatoes etc.

    Also- theres a reason popular culture had a standard mental picture of serious contemplators / deep thinkers puffing on a pipe while they thought deep thoughts.
    Aid to cogitation?

  7. In a similar manner the investigations into the use of hallucinogens (like psilocybin) struggled for years to obtain legal funding because of the ‘War On Drugs’. And yet it seems that even single doses carefully administered may resolve mental problems that other treatments cannot achieve.

  8. As you say, this has already been studied:

    As we might expect, it seems studies affiliated with tobacco companies tend to show a reduction in AD, and those with no affiliation show no statistical difference. Though no industry funded studies have been carried out since 1994, from which we might infer something…

    But why would we assume it is the nicotine causing the effect described, and not all the stuff that isn’t in a vape? It’s an experiment, for sure, but analysis of existing evolving data sets would likely yield more useful results.

  9. Binc: yes that. it’s powdered baccy so in English snuff but use snus to make the distinction it’s a little moist so you make it into a little pellet (quid?) and put it under the lip. Can’t really sniff it.

  10. “Some evidence for nicotine having a preventive effect against Parkinson’s disease also.“

    It’s only anecdotal, but I’ve a distinct impression there’s a lot more Parkinson’s about these days. 40 years ago you certainly heard about it, but I never met anyone who had it. In the last ten years, I’ve known (off the top of my head) at least three people with it, including my late mother. In fact, one of her best friends was diagnosed not long after mum died, which struck us both as an extraordinarily coincidence.

    It’d be interesting to see some actual figures.

  11. A lot of ‘medical ethics’ seems to consist of the claim “I magically know what the outcome of that study would be therefore you must not do it.”

  12. Many medical studies saying that things are good or bad for you are merely observational, so extremely weak. In the case of smoking, since Alzheimer’s affects the brain, you also need to eliminate the possibility that brains which are less affected by Alzheimer’s are more likely to get addicted to and stay addicted to smoking.

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