Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs but you may suffer from cognitive issues as well.
A recent study found that middle-aged smokers are far more likely to suffer from memory loss and disorientation. Even quitting recently can have a significant decrease in the risk of cognitive decline. The study found that quitting decreased the risk of cognitive impairment despite the previous damage done.
This study was undertaken by Ohio State University and is published in the journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study is also the first to explore how smoking affects cognitive skills.
The data for the study came from the 2019 national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The survey helped the research team assess subjective cognitive decline or SCD by comparing smokers, people who quit smoking recently, and those who had quit years back. About 136,018 people above the age of 45 were studied and 11 percent of them had signs of SCD.
In the study, the prevalence of SCD among smokers was nearly 1.9 times that of nonsmokers. The prevalence among those who had quit smoking within the last ten years was 1.5 times that of nonsmokers. Those who had quit smoking more than a decade before the survey had a slightly higher SCD prevalence than nonsmokers.
Researchers used a question for self-assessment that asked participants if they had seen a deterioration or increase in their frequency of memory loss and confusion. Jenna Rajczyk, the lead author of the study, says that the findings support prior studies that linked smoking to neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
The study also established that neurological damage was the worst in middle-aged smokers. Another researcher involved in the study said that the relationship between smoking and memory loss was prominent among the age group of 45-59.
The scientists said that the finding suggests that if a person decides to quit smoking at this age they may preserve their cognitive health. However, further delay to quit might not have a similar impact.
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