We all know the long-term effects of smoking on your lungs, heart, skin, aging and your overall health. Did you know that smoking can also have an adverse effect on your ability to learn and memorizing? Until recently scientists did not know smoking has a long-term association with dementia.
Researchers from several institutes, including The Karolinksa Aging Research Center in Stockholm, Sweden, investigated the long-term association of middle-age individuals and the amount of smoking they did in relation to the risk of dementia (i.e., Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD)) developing later in life.
Over 21,000 members of a health care system took part in a survey that ran from 1978 to 1985. They were from all ethnicities, and included heavy, light and non-smokers. Between January 1994 and July 2008 these people were grouped in sections and diagnosed for dementia. The groups were adjusted for age, sex, education, race, marital status, hypertension and a variety of other health problems.
Results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The findings indicated that compared to non-smokers, those who smoked 2 packs a day or more for 20 years had a greater that 157% increased risk of developing AD, and a 172% greater risk of developing VaD — associated with stroke and conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain.
A Duke’s University study proved that there is no difference in ethnic groups when it comes to the risk of mental decline due to smoking.
The Alzheimer’s Association has sent out notices to remind that the risks of dementia are reduced in people who quit smoking.
These results further substantiate the growing understanding that lifestyle decisions — such as the decision to quit smoking cigarettes or better yet never start — is important in reducing the risks of age-related memory impairment (including dementia) and maintaining lifespan memory fitness. So, the bottom line, unless you live in a cave you have to know smoking is bad for you — in all aspects of your life!