Smoking is a bad thing right? Well a big registry study just published could change all of that, although I wouldn’t go out and buy a pack of cigarettes quite yet. The study looked at more than fifty thousand patients who were part of an Australian blood pressure study and cross referenced those against a joint replacement registry. Some of the things they found were pretty standard, like that heavier patients had a higher risk of knee or hip replacement. However, this statement from the paper is what’s causing all the ruckus, “Compared to non-smokers, male and female smokers were respectively 40% and 30% less likely to undergo a TJR. This significant association persisted after controlling for age, co-morbidities, body mass index (BMI), physical exercise, and socioeconomic disadvantage.” Huh? Smokers were less likely to undergo a joint replacement? If this inverse smoking joint replacement association exists, why may it be happening? While many patients have asked me if hyperbaric oxygen is good for stem cells, actually there’s more research that low oxygen improves stem cell function. Could the oxygen reduction that happens with smoking be causing these patients to have better stem cells to maintain joint health? You would think that the other negative effects of smoking would outweigh these effects. In addition, realize that this only applies to skinny smokers. The upshot? Your guess is as good as mine as I’m not sure what to make of these study results. Let’s just say that I’m not about to take up smoking anytime soon, but I’ll definitely be watching the studies that are sure to follow this one.
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About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…