OHIO: There is no denying that smoking has detrimental effects on the lungs and heart, but recent research indicates that smokers may also put their cognitive health at greater risk.
According to researchers at the Ohio State University, middle-aged smokers are far more prone than non-smokers to suffer from memory loss and forgetfulness.
Fortunately, when a smoker stops, their risk of cognitive deterioration starts to reduce. This study is the first to look into the connection between smoking and cognitive decline using a straightforward self-assessment that only asks participants if they’ve seen a worsening or increase in their frequency of memory loss and/or confusion.
Despite the fact that this is not the first study to link smoking to dementia, it may provide new ways to spot early warning signals of cognitive decline.
“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,” said senior study author Jeffrey Wing, an assistant professor of epidemiology, in a university release.
The fact that the researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of Alzheimer s Disease, did not observe a similar difference in the subjects who were the oldest shows that quitting earlier has higher health advantages.
The 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey from the US provided the data for this study. The study’s authors were able to compare subjective cognitive decline (SCD) measurements among present smokers, recent ex-smokers, and non-smokers who had given up smoking in the past. In total, 136,018 persons, aged 45 or older were included in the analysis, with approximately 11% reporting SCD.
Notably, the study found that the prevalence of SCD was roughly 1.9 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Less than ten years ago, the frequency was 1.5 times higher among former smokers than among nonsmokers. However, those who had stopped smoking more than ten years prior to the survey had an SCD prevalence that was only marginally higher than that of the nonsmokers.
“These findings could imply that the time since smoking cessation does matter, and may be linked to cognitive outcomes,” added Jenna Rajczyk, lead author of the study and a PhD student in Ohio State’s College of Public Health.
The researcher explained that this is a simple evaluation that may be carried out consistently and at earlier ages than we generally notice cognitive deficits that progress to the point of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It doesn’t have a lengthy list of inquiries. Whether or not you feel as sharp as you once depended more on your own perception of your cognitive state.
Because many people lack access to comprehensive exams or medical professionals, assessing SCD has a wide range of possible applications.
The authors of the study emphasise that it is crucial to recognise that these self-reported experiences do not represent a confirmation that somebody is going through an abnormal cognitive decline.