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9 February 2012
Male brain-power sapped with smokes
by George Atkinson

Smoking in men - but not women - appears to be associated with more rapid cognitive decline, say researchers in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researcher Séverine Sabia, of University College London, examined the association between smoking history and cognitive decline in the transition from midlife to old age. Data from more than 5,000 men and 2,000 women with an average age of 56 years were used in the study.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Smoking in men is associated with more rapid cognitive decline.
  • Men who quit smoking in the 10 years preceding the first cognitive measure were still at risk of greater cognitive decline, especially in executive function (complex cognitive processes).
  • The association between smoking and cognition, particularly at older ages, is likely to be underestimated owing to the higher risk of death among smokers.

The authors also note that their results show no association between smoking and cognitive decline in women, although the underlying reasons remain unclear. They suggest one explanation for the sex difference they observed might be that men smoke more than women.

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Source: Archives of General Psychiatry




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