Smokers at risk of reduced learning and memory function


Smoking can interfere with the ability to learn and remember things, especially in women, according to a new study.

In the largest study ever to examine the impact of smoking and cardiovascular disease on cognitive function, researchers found that cigarettes can cause significant damage.

A team from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in America found that the effects of smoking impact the brain and are apparently more pronounced in women than in men.

Lead author Dr Matt Huentelman, TGen Professor of Neurogenomics, said: “These findings suggest that smoking and cardiovascular disease have an impact on verbal learning and memory throughout adulthood, from the age of 18.

“Smoking is associated with decreased learning and memory function in women, while cardiovascular disease is associated with decreased learning and memory function in men. “

Alzheimer’s disease is most commonly associated with cognitive impairment, but another condition has also been linked to brain impairment called Vascular Contributions to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia (VCID).

This study yielded important results, as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of illness and death worldwide. It is also an important predictor of cognitive decline and VCID.

Dr Brian Tiep, Director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Smoking Cessation, said: “This study highlights some unpredictable but important gender differences in cognitive decline.

“The impact on mental acuity appears to be gradual over time – some faster than others. Lifestyle habits related to diet, exercise and smoking certainly have consequences and can differ between men and women. People receiving cancer care can be cognitively affected by cancer and its treatment.

“This study supports the importance of maintaining cardiovascular health and quitting smoking not only to support their cancer care, but also to improve brain function.”

The results of the study were published in the Review of scientific reports.

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