Smoke’s impact on aging cognition

A study revealed that smokers may experience up to an 85% faster decline in cognitive abilities such as memory and speech compared to non-smokers.

| Updated: 09 July, 2024 2:47 pm IST
A study revealed that smokers may experience up to an 85% faster decline in cognitive abilities such as memory and speech compared to non-smokers. Researchers examined 16 lifestyle factors, including physical activity, alcohol consumption, and social interactions.
A study revealed that smokers may experience up to an 85% faster decline in cognitive abilities such as memory and speech compared to non-smokers. Researchers examined 16 lifestyle factors, including physical activity, alcohol consumption, and social interactions.

NEW DELHI: A study revealed that smokers may experience up to an 85% faster decline in cognitive abilities such as memory and speech compared to non-smokers. Researchers examined 16 lifestyle factors, including physical activity, alcohol consumption, and social interactions.

They found that smoking habits had the most significant impact on how quickly cognitive function declines with age. Mikaela Bloomberg, lead author from University College London, emphasized, “Our findings suggest that among the healthy behaviors we studied, not smoking could be crucial for preserving cognitive function.”

The research team surveyed over 32,000 adults aged 50 and older across 14 European countries, tracking them for up to 13 years. Participants were categorized based on their smoking habits and whether they engaged in moderate or vigorous physical activity at least once weekly. The study also considered their frequency of socializing with friends and family, as well as their drinking patterns. It was observed that cognitive decline progressed much faster among smokers than non-smokers, accelerating up to 85% more over a decade.

Furthermore, smokers who preferred less social interaction experienced the most pronounced decline in cognitive function, with between one-third and half of their cognitive abilities deteriorating over the same 10-year period.

These findings underscore the critical role of smoking cessation in maintaining cognitive health as individuals age. For those finding it challenging to quit smoking, adopting other healthy habits such as regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and staying socially active may help mitigate some of the cognitive decline associated with smoking.

Overall, the study highlights the complex interplay between lifestyle choices and cognitive health, emphasizing the detrimental impact of smoking on cognitive function and the potential benefits of healthier behaviors in preserving mental acuity over time.

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