Middle-aged smokers are far more likely to report having memory loss and confusion than nonsmokers, and the likelihood of cognitive decline is lower for those who have quit, even recently, a new study has found.
The research from The Ohio State University is the first to examine the relationship between smoking and cognitive decline using a one-question self-assessment asking people if they’ve experienced worsening or more frequent memory loss and/or confusion.
The findings build on previous research that established relationships between smoking and Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, and could point to an opportunity to identify signs of trouble earlier in life, said Jenna Rajczyk, lead author of the study, which appears in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
It’s also one more piece of evidence that quitting smoking is good not just for respiratory and cardiovascular reasons — but to preserve neurological health, said Rajczyk, a PhD student in Ohio State’s College of Public Health, and senior author Jeffrey Wing, assistant professor of epidemiology.
“The association we saw was most significant in the 45-59 age group, suggesting that quitting at that stage of life may have a benefit for cognitive health,” Wing said. A similar difference wasn’t found in the oldest group in the study, which could mean that quitting earlier affords people greater benefits, he said.
Data for the study came from the national 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Survey and allowed the research team to compare subjective cognitive decline (SCD) measures for current smokers, recent former smokers, and those who had quit years earlier. The analysis included 136,018 people 45 and older, and about 11% reported SCD.
Source: Read Full Article