For years now it’s been a common fact that smoking is bad for the health, particularly for the lungs. However, that didn’t stop many from lighting another smoke. Yet, scientists found another worrying fact that dramatically changes the way we look at cigarettes. A recent study shows exactly how smoking takes its toll on men, causing a rapid cognitive decline.
The warning is particularly important for middle age men who smoke and have over 10 years ‘experience’ in doing so. These people tend to have a higher risk of developing dementia.
Severine Sabia, Ph.D., of University College London, took part in a research that looked at 5,099 men and 2,137 women, all employees of the British Civil Service. The study was intended to investigate the link between smoking history and cognitive decline in the transition from midlife to old age.
Scientists reviewed the data based on six assessments of smoking status over 25 years and three cognitive over 10 years. All in all each participant’s performance on tests of memory, verbal skills and reasoning over a decade has been researched.
The study delivered four major findings. First of all, there’s the aspect that shows smoking in men tends to be linked with a more rapid cognitive decline.
Secondly, men who quit smoking in the 10 years preceding the first cognitive measure remained at risk of greater cognitive decline, but long-term ex-smokers showed no such signs.
Third, the study shows there’s no association between smoking and cognitive decline in women. They believe that’s because men smoke greater quantities of tobacco, as opposed to women.
Finally, as scientists in the study noted, 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 dropout among smokers”.
The study’s lead author explains how the link between smoking and rapid cognitive decline in men works. “For example, a 50-year-old male smoker shows a similar cognitive decline as a 60-year-old male never-smoker”, she said.
Dr. Charles DeCarli, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of California at Davis, explained for ABCNews that the reason why smoking impacts cognitive attributes in men who smoke might be due to men suffering from more heart disease and greater stroke risk.