It's widely known that smoking cigarettes is really bad for your health. By now most are aware that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and yellow teeth, just to name a few, but a new study out of London shows that smoking actually rots your brain!
The research, by King's College London, found that smoking tobacco is worse for your brain than having high blood pressure or being overweight.
The study examined 8,800 participants over the age of 50, and asked them to perform cognitive tests, such as learning new words or naming as many animals as they could in a minute. The researchers tested the participants again four years later, and again after eight years.
The results showed that the overall risk of a heart attack or stroke was
"significantly associated with cognitive decline" with those at the highest risk
showing the greatest decline.
It also said there was a "consistent association" between smoking and lower
scores in the tests.
One of the researchers, Dr Alex Dregan, said: "Cognitive
decline becomes more common with ageing and for an increasing number of people
interferes with daily functioning and well-being.
"We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with
accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable."
He added: "We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle
changes because of the risk of cognitive decline."
The researchers do not know how such a decline could affect people going
about their daily life. They are also unsure whether the early drop in brain
function could lead to conditions such as dementia.
Dr Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Research has repeatedly
linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline
and dementia, and this study adds further weight to that evidence.
"Cognitive decline as we age can develop into dementia, and unravelling the
factors that are linked to this decline could be crucial for finding ways to
prevent the condition.
"These results underline the importance of looking after your cardiovascular
health from mid-life."
The Alzheimer's Society said: "We all know smoking, high blood pressure,
high cholesterol levels and a high BMI [Body Mass Index] is bad for our heart.
This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be
bad for our head too.
"One in three people over 65 will develop dementia but there are things
people can do to reduce their risk.
"Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly,
getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and not smoking can all make
Article by: Adam Camara
Labels: Health Tips, New Research, Smoking Rots Brain