Smoking is bad for men's brains
07 February 2012, 11:31
Washington - Men who smoke experience greater mental declines over
time than men who never smoked, but the same link does not appear among
women, said a British study published in the United States on Monday.
research suggested that the effects of long-term cigarette smoking show
up terms of memory loss, inability to connect past experience with
actions in the present, and a drop in overall cognition skills.
study in the Archives of General Psychiatry followed more than 5 000
men and 2 100 women in the British civil service. Research subjects
entered the study at an average age of 56 and were followed for up to 25
Researchers at the University College London checked their
smoking status six times over that span and ran a series of cognitive
They found that smoking was linked to more rapid declines
in mental ability across all cognitive tests among men who smoked when
compared to non-smoking men.
"Our results show that the
association between smoking and cognition, particularly at older ages,
is likely to be underestimated owing to higher risk of death and
drop-out among smokers," said the study, led by Severine Sabia of
University College London.
Men who quit smoking within 10 years of
entering the study were still at risk of greater cognitive decline, but
long-term ex-smokers did not show the same deterioration levels.
study underscores that smoking is bad for your brain," said Marc
Gordon, chief of neurology at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New
York, who was not involved in the study.
"Mid-life smoking is a
modifiable risk factor with an effect size roughly equivalent to 10
years of ageing on the rate of cognitive decline," he added.
findings are increasingly relevant to the world's aging population, the
study authors said, with some 36 million dementia cases across the
globe, a figure that is projected to double every 20 years.
why women did not show the same link was unclear, though researchers
suggested the smaller sample size and the higher volume of cigarettes
smoked by men in comparison to women could be contributing factors.
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