Smoking and cognitive decline
Arch Gen Psychiatry doi: 10.1001/archgenpsychiary.2011.2016
Smoking is a possible risk factor for dementia but the impact smoking may have on elderly populations may have been underestimated due to smokers having a shorter lifespan.
The association between smoking history and cognitive decline was investigated in 5099 men and 2137 women enrolled in the Whitehall II study who were in the transition from midlife to old age (range 44-69 years). Cognitive function was assessed using a battery of tests of memory, vocabulary, executive function and global executive function; smoking status was assessed over the entire study period.
Faster 10-year cognitive decline was seen in men who were current smokers compared with never smokers in global cognition and executive function. Recent ex-smokers had the greatest decline in executive function, whereas the decline in long-term ex-smokers was similar to that in never smokers. In women, cognitive function did not vary as a function of smoking status.
Middle-aged men who smoke have a faster decline in global cognition and executive function than never-smokers; ex-smokers with at least a 10-year cessation, have no adverse effects on cognitive decline due to smoking.
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