Int J Sports Med 1994; 15(4): 207-212
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1021048
Orthopedics and Clinical Science

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Motor Symptoms Similar to Parkinsonism in Heavy Smokers

M. Burtscher1 , R. Likar2 , C. Pechlaner3 , F. Kunz3 , M. Philadelphy1
  • 1Health Section of the Austrian Alpine Club
  • 2General Hospital of Carinthia, Klagenfurt, Austria
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, University of Innsbruck, Austria
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14. März 2008 (online)


The major objective in this study was a comparison of the motor performance of young male smokers and non-smokers. We tested the endurance capacity, maximal isometric strength, speed of whole-body movements, flexibility and balancing ability of 74 smokers and 118 non-smokers. Then we measured the balancing ability, the visual reaction time and the speed of limb movements of non-smokers and heavy smokers depending on the time of abstinence from smoking. The balancing ability of heavy smokers deteriorates in comparison with non-smokers after an abstinence period of 11 - 120 min by 42% (p<0.05), and after more than 120min by 51% (p<0.01). Heavy smokers had a longer reaction time both after 2 hours of abstinence and after smoking. The speed of limb movements is decreased after not smoking for a brief period compared to non-smokers and clearly improved immediately after smoking. This deterioration of motor performance of heavy smokers after a short period of abstinence appears similar to the motor symptoms of Parkinsonism and is “treated” by cigarette smoking.