Health Smoking

Published on November 26th, 2012 | by No Artificial

Smoking Degrades The Brain, Research Says

Smoking “rots” the brain by damaging memory, learning abilities and reasoning, according to researchers at King’s College London.

According to a new study of 8,800 people over age 50 found a correlation between smoking and damage to memory, learning and reasoning in the brain. While reduced brain performance is
a natural sign of aging, this data suggests that degradation is increased by smoking.

A group of scientists at King’s College London involved in the study claimed that people should understand that bad smoking habits could damage the mind as well as the body.

Researchers were also investigating links between the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke and the state of the mind.

Data about the overall health and lifestyle of a group of over-50s was collected and brain tests, such as making contributors learn 10 unrelated words or name as many animals as they could in a minute, were also conducted.

They were all tested again after 4 and then after 8 years.

The findings showed that the overall risk of a heart attack or stroke was “significantly associated with cognitive decline” with those at the highest risk showing the greatest decline.

It also said there was a “consistent association” between smoking and lower scores in the tests.

“Cognitive decline becomes more common with ageing and for an increasing number of people interferes with daily functioning and well-being.
We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable”, explained one of the researchers, Dr Alex Dregan.

“We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle changes because of the risk of cognitive decline”, he added.

The study also suggests that these factors could lead to more complex problems, such as dementia.

“Cognitive decline as we age can develop into dementia, and unravelling the factors that are linked to this decline could be crucial for finding ways to prevent the condition,” Dr. Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer’s Research U.K., told the BBC.

While this new research revealed long-term effects of smoking, the inhalation of cigarette smoke often has some much more obvious negative side-effects. According to the National Institutes of Health, smoking causes about 443,000 deaths each year and is responsible for 90 percent of lung cancer in men and 80 percent of lung cancer in women.

The Oxford journal “Age and Ageing”

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