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Smoking as Activity Enhancer. Schizophrenia and Gender Research Paper

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Updated: May 3rd, 2019

Introduction: A Descent into Madness with a Cigar in the Hand

On the one hand, there is little in common between the problems of schizophrenia among men and women and the effects of nicotine on human muscular system.

However, each of the issues is topical at the moment, and each offers a unique problem which needs to be researched. Once learning the effects which nicotine has on people’s health and the relation between gender and schizophrenia, one can possibly find the ways to prevent the latter and to protect the people in the high-risk group from the development of schizophrenia.

Blowing Rings of Smoke: the Paradox of a Cigar Box

It seems that smoking has always been among the worst habits ever. Considered to be harmful not only for the health of smokers, but also for the people who are forced to inhale the cigar smoke when being around a person with a cigar, smoking has been labeled as a no-no for years. However, according to the recent finding, smoking can possibly boost one’s reaction, which gives a reason to reconsider the effects of the given habit.

Nicotine as a powerful stimulus: the source of energy

There is no doubt that nicotine is a substance that a lot of people are dependent on and claim to be their performance enhancer. Indeed, according to the research conducted by Umezu, nicotine can have an effect of a stimulus. A

t least, when tested on mice, NIC has had an impressive effect: “The present study revealed that NIC at 0.25–2mg/kg acutely reduced ambulatory activity in ICR mice under the same experimental condition for evaluating effects of psychostimulants BUP and MP and depressants HAL and FLU” (Umezu, 2012, 5).

Therefore, it can be considered that the use of nicotine can possibly improve one’s performance, boosting one’s energy and enhancing one’s activity. The above-mentioned change in human’s reactions can be explained by the increase of the dopamine hormone. As the results of the research conducted by Froeliger, Beckham, Dennis, Koznik & McClernon state, “Nicotine-induced increases in reactivity to emotional stimuli in the striatum may be due to increased dopamine transmission in this region brought on by nicotine administration (or decreases in dopamine neurotransmission in the absence of nicotine)” (Froeliger, Beckham, Dennis, Koznik & McClernon, 2012, 5)

Activity alert: entranced by a cigarette

However, it can also be argued that using nicotine as a performance enhancer will be a mistake. According to the research results, the key effect of nicotine is to boost emotional activity. Hence, it can be considered that nicotine can only be used for enhancing one’s reaction to certain emotional stimuli, but not to improve the physical or mental reaction.

As Froeliger, Beckham, Dennis, Koznik & McClernon claim, “The observed patch x group interaction in SFG suggested greater reactivity to emotional cues in this region when smokers with PTSD were in a nicotine-deprived state. The SFG plays an important role in emotion, memory, and motivational processes” (Froeliger, Beckham, Dennis, Koznik & McClernon, 2012, 5).

Indeed, as Mazhar & Herbst (2012) claim, with the increase of nicotine rates in a human body, the nicotinic acetylchlorine receptor (AChR) starts responding to the slightest changes in the state of the patient, which leads to the increase in reaction quality: “During postnatal maturation of NMJs, an initial, small oval-shaped AChR cluster is transformed into an array of pretzel-shaped branches that mirror the branching pattern of the motor nerve terminal, forming precisely matched pre- and postsynaptic branches” (Mazhar & Herbst, 2012, 475).

Moreover, the above-mentioned results clarify that smokers display fast reactions only when suffering nicotine privation, which means that nicotine is not the answer to the problem of being unfocused. It is obvious that the lack of nicotine is far more efficient for developing fast reactions.

Getting the priorities in line: health before habits

Therefore, it is clear that the information concerning the positive effects of nicotine must be taken with a grain of salt. Even though nicotine does contribute to the development of better emotional reactions towards the outer stimuli, it is still obviously a substance which harms people’s health. Moreover, the recent researches show that the traditional use of nicotine, i. e., smoking, doubtlessly leads to development of cancer. According to the findings offered by Lee, Wu & Ho (2012), smoking does have most negative impact on lungs:

Nicotine exposure induces the augmented expression ofα7-nAChRs, which causes an influx of Ca 2+ and activates downstream signals, such as protein kinase C, Raf-1, extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2, and c-Myc, leading to increases in cell proliferation, cancer cell migration, metastasis, or the inhibition of apoptosis” (Lee, Wu & Ho, 2012, 4).

Therefore, it goes without saying that smoking should not be considered as the ultimate energy enhancer.

“M” for “Men” and ”Madness”: Schizophrenia Prefers the Stronger Sex


Unfortunately, schizophrenia is a part and parcel of reality, and there has been no absolute cure invented for it, despite numerous attempts to come up with an ideal intervention. However, it seems that schizophrenia does not strike blindly – according to the recent research, men are more subject to the disorder than women. Taking a closer look at the issue, one can possibly figure out if gender is what matters in the given case.

Schizophrenia among men: facts and myths

To start with, it is necessary to explore the depth of the specifics of a male organism. It seems that, due to the fact that the metabolic processes within a man’s body are slower than the ones in a woman’s organism, the former are more subject to developing schizophrenia.

However, women’s resistance to schizophrenia must not be exaggerated. It should be mentioned that women are also subject to developing the basic schizophrenia symptoms when exposed to the factors inducing the latter.

As Ochoa, Usall, Cobo, Labad & Kulkarni claim, “Women have greater metabolic and endocrine-induced antipsychotic side effects. In fact, every woman exposed to atypical antipsychotics is at risk of developing hyperprolactinemia-related problems, particularly young women” (Ochoa, Usall, Cobo, Labad & Kulkarni, 2012, 4).

Nevertheless, it seems that women are more resistant to the disorder, mainly, because female body glands produce the hormone that makes women more resistant to the disorder: “Modern-day research shows that during the menstrual cycles of female schizophrenia patients, the high-oestrogen luteal phase is associated with significant improvements in psychopathology and functioning compared to the low-oestrogen follicular phase” (Hayes, Gavrilidis and Kulkarni, 2012, 2).

Women and schizophrenia: losing their mind

Unlike men, women seem to develop the symptoms of schizophrenia less frequently. As the research conducted by Iniesta, Ochoa & Usall (2012) certifies, among the people admitted in hospital over the course of the research at least one time, there were 588 women and 1508 men, which made 28% and 72% respectively.

s the authors claim, the “results on the risk of hospitalization show that women are admitted to the hospital less than men for the general sample, the schizophrenia patient sample, and the paranoid subtype, which is the most common” (Iniesta, Ochoa & Usall, 2012, 5).

The sad truth, revealed: when madness takes over

Hence, it can be concluded that men suffer from schizophrenia more frequently than women do, mostly because of the specifics of the male and female bodies. Having estrogen produced in their bodies, women are less threatened by the possibility of developing the given mental disorder.

As Hayes, Gavrilidis and Kulkarni (2012) assure, schizophrenia is mostly the scourge of the male population: “Oestrogen protects women against severe psychosis during their childbearing years, and that oestrogen withdrawal of any kind may be able to induce psychosis in vulnerable women” (Hayes, Gavrilidis and Kulkarni , 2012, 2).

Considering the aspect of remission among the patients with evident symptoms of schizophrenia, the same tendency can be observed, i.e., women tend to display much more resistance to developing recurring symptoms of schizophrenia, while among men, the above-mentioned phenomenon is observed more frequently: “A lower percentage of male (48.6%, n =34) than female patients (60.0%,n =18) were deemed in clinical remission” (Carpiniello, Pinna, Tusconi, Zacchedu & Patteri, 2012, 4).

Thus, it can be considered that men not only suffer from schizophrenia more than women do, but are also under a considerably greater risk of developing schizophrenia, while the opportunity to have a remission among men is highly unlikely. Thus, it is obvious that the focus for the further researches on schizophrenia, its key factors and the means to prevent it should be focused on men rather than on women.

Conclusion: Surprising Discoveries and the Rosiest Prospects

Therefore, it is obvious that, despite all the positive effects that smoking can possibly have on a human body, the negative ones are still stronger. Though nicotine can possibly enhance one’s performance and boost activity, it is still worth keeping in mind that the given phenomenon is chemically induced and, therefore, will not last long.

Moreover, developed chemically, the effect of a burst of energy is highly likely to be followed by a rapid decrease of activity, since the gland producing the hormone, once boosted by nicotine will be devastated soon. Thus, it is preferable that the hormone should be boosted in a natural way.

As for the issues concerning the relations between schizophrenia and gender, there seems to be a pattern for women to Suffer from the given disorder much less frequently than men. As it has turned out, the pivoting point in the range of factors inducing the development of schizophrenia is estrogen, the hormone which women have in much more ample amount than men do.

Therefore, it can be considered that men are more susceptible to developing schizophrenia. However, it is important to keep in mind hat, along with the above-mentioned factor, a wide range of others shape people’s susceptibility to schizophrenia considerably; hence, a number of social factors is excluded in the given conclusion. It is worth keeping in mind that in particular cases, deviations from the norm can be observed.

Reference List

Carpiniello, B., Pinna, F., Tusconi, M., Zacchedu, E. & Patteri, F. (2012). Gender differences in remission and recovery of schizophrenic and schizoaffective patients: preliminary results of a prospective cohort study. Schizophrenia Research and Treatment, 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/576369

Froeliger, B., Beckham, J. C., Dennis, M. F., Koznik, D. V. & McClernon, F. J. (2012). Effects of nicotine on emotional reactivity in PTSD and non-PTSD smokers: results of a pilot fMRI study. Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/265724

Hayes, Gavrilidis and Kulkarni. (2012). The role of oestrogen and other hormones in the pathophysiology and treatment of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research and Treatment, 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/540273

Iniesta, R., Ochoa, S., & Usall, J. (2012). Gender differences in service use in a sample of people with schizophrenia and other psychoses. Schizophrenia Research and Treatment, 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/365452

Lee, C.-H., Wu, C.-H., & Ho, Y.-S. (2012). From smoking to cancers: novel targets to neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Journal of Oncology, 2011. Doi: 10.1155/2011/693424

Mazhar, S. & Herbst, R. (2012). The formation of complex acetylcholine receptor clusters requires MuSK kinase activity and structural information from the MuSK extracellular domain. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 49, 475-486.

Ochoa, S., Usall, J., Cobo, J., Labad, X., & Kulkarni, J. (2012). Gender differences in Schizophrenia and first-episode psychosis: a comprehensive literature review. Schizophrenia Research and Treatment, 2012. doi: 10.1155/2012/916198

Umezu, T. (2012). Unusual effects of nicotine as a psychostimulant on ambulatory activity in mice. Pharmacology, 2012. doi: 10.5402/2012/170981

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