Smoking Rots The Brain: Surprise?

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A new study published in the journal Age and Ageing brings a newish concern for smokers to the light.  Smoking–in addition the many directly physical issues it creates–rots the brain.  In particular, it damages memory, reasoning, and learning abilities in smokers.

It’s hard to say whether this is one of those “Well, Duh” moments or not.  Smoking is known to cause extensive damage to the lungs, throat, and cardiovascular system.  Its effects on the brain are a bit less direct.  Flow restriction in the carotid artery cuts blood supply to the brain.  This contributes to smokers having an increased chance of stroke.  At the same time, smoking addiction can cause withdrawal effects on the brain.

Still, these aren’t quite on the same level as Smoking ROTS your brain.  Research is still being done to connect smoking to cognitive decline.  This is one more in a number of pieces that continue to tell us just how bad smoking can be.

The study was conducted on 8,800 individuals over the age of 50.  The group was tracked over 8 years for the likely causes of cognitive decline.  Ultimately, smoking, high blood pressure, and being overweight all increased cognitive decline, but smoking did so the most.

The study came from King’s College London, a public university in the United Kingdom.  You can find the abstract here.

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