Lifestyle & Belief

Smoking bad for brain, new study says


A camel trader smokes an Indian cigarrette called Bidi at the camel fair grounds in the outskirts of Pushkar on Nov. 21, 2012.


Roberto Schmidt

As if cancer wasn't enough, there's yet another reasons to kick the habit of smoking cigarettes.

A new study out of King's College London and published in the journal Age and Ageing suggests smoking cigarettes may damage the brain.

The study, which tested 8,800 people 50 years and older over eight years on basic memory skills, also suggests high blood pressure and obesity adversely affect the brain, though not as much.

Those who consistently smoked had lower scores on tests given by the researchers.

The study concluded:

"Elevated cardiovascular risk may be associated with accelerated decline in cognitive functioning in the elderly." The study then stressed the need for future research.

A spokesperson from the Alzheimer's Society told the IBTimes: "We all know smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI is bad for our heart. This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too."

Researcher Dr Alex Dregan told the BBC: "Cognitive decline becomes more common with ageing and for an increasing number of people interferes with daily functioning and well-being.

"We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable."

He added: "We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle changes because of the risk of cognitive decline."