Do you think that smoking makes you badass? Do you feel like smoking makes you the alpha male? Think again, a new research suggests that it may be otherwise.
Smoking is dangerous, it kills. But according to a new study smoking also kills the very chromosome that makes a man, well a man. As it turns out men get the shorter end of the stick over women, according to researchers who tried to answer the different in death rate of men and women smokers, and try to understand the genetic changes in male smokers.
Scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden found out that male smokers are three times more likely than non-smoking men to lose Y chromosomes as they age. Y chromosome, the unique chromosome vital for sperm production and sex determination during conception can being to disintegrate from cells in the body earlier that it should in people who smoke.
The disappearance of Y chromosome has been linked to shorter life span and increased cancer risk in past studies, and the research Uppsala University just supports these claims. The study also revealed that older smoker men in general lose more Y chromosomes in their blood cells when compared to non-smokers.
Lars Forsberg of the university’s Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology claims that the result of the study may explain why cancer risk due to smoking is higher in men and than in women.
Despite the fact that not all smokers show chromosome loss while some non-smokers do, and many smokers do not develop cancer while many non-smokers do, Forsberg still believes that their study proves an important point. “Smoking is associated with loss of Y, and loss of Y is associated with cancer,” he said.
Forsberg also suggested that some genes in Y chromosome may be responsible for tumor suppression, and the disappearance of it promotes cancer.
It may be that the “surveillance” for cancer carried out by the body’s immune system is disrupted in those cells that have lost the Y chromosome, they said.
“The cells that lose the Y chromosome … They don’t die,” says Forsberg. “But we think that they would have a disrupted biological function.”
The study covered more than 6,000 men. They also learned that the loss of Y chromosome is directly proportional to number of cigarettes consumed. The more you smoke, the more you lose your Y chromosomes.
“This discovery could be very persuasive for motivating smokers to quit,” hopes Forsberg.