Monday, February 6, 2012

Smoking accelerates rapid cognitive decline in men

Researchers reported middle-aged male smokers experience more rapid cognitive decline, compared to non-smoking men. However over at least 10 years of no smoking, the male body can repair itself, lowering its risk of rapid decline in cognitive function. This study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

In the study, led by Severine Sabia of University College London’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, self-reported medical history information was collected from 5,099 men and 2,137 women and assessed for smoking correlations. In addition, cognitive tests were performed among subjects. For comparison, the subjects were divided up by the following age groups, 44 to 69-years-old, 50 to 74-years-old and 55 to 80-years-old, and gender.

In conclusion, male smokers were found to be at higher risk for developing dementia than non-smokers. With more cigarette smoking, the cognitive decline was more severe.

In the study, researchers found that potential brain changes from smoking were not always permanent. Among men who stopped smoking 10 years before assessment, their risk for cognitive decline was similar to the risk associated with nonsmokers. However, men who stopped smoking within 10 years before assessment, their risks for cognitive decline was more similar to current smokers’ risk.