As some of us on here have been concerned over losing our memory I decided to have a browse and see what info there was about memory and smoking. Interesting read .

Taken from the Daily mail :-

Smoking harms your brain as well as your body: It leads to sharp decline in mental ability, warns study

Test on nearly 9,000 people over 50 have shown lifestyles could damage the mind as well as the body

Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI all worsen the risk

By Jenny Hope

PUBLISHED: 10:15, 26 November 2012 | UPDATED: 00:30, 27 November 2012

Tests on 8,800 people over 50 have showed cigarettes can damage memory

Smoking is known to be highly damaging to physical health, being a major factor in cancer and heart disease.

Now, however, its alarming effects on the mental well-being of millions of smokers have been outlined by British scientists.

Lighting up regularly has been associated with a sharp decline in the performance of the brain, according to their study.

They found that middle-aged smokers performed less well on tests compared with those without the tobacco habit.

The project examined memory, planning and overall mental ability after four and eight years. The tests included asking people to learn new words or name as many animals as they could in a minute.

Researchers concluded that smoking ‘consistently’ reduced all three performance measures after four years.

They also found that high blood pressure and being overweight took their toll of brainpower – but not as much as smoking.


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The team warned that people need to be aware of the impact on their health of lifestyle choices, like smoking.

Risk factor data was examined for more than 8,800 people aged 50 and over taking part in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

The researchers at King’s College London were investigating links between the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke and the state of the brain.

Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI all worsen the risk of dementia

High blood pressure and high risk of stroke were also associated with lower scores for memory and overall mental ability after eight years.

Being overweight was linked to poor memory, according to the findings published in the journal Age and Ageing. Lead scientist Dr Alex Dregan said ‘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. This offers valuable knowledge for prevention and treatment interventions.’

The researchers said their results indicate that high blood pressure has a gradual effect on the brain over a long period.

This could explain why short-term trials of blood pressure drugs being used to treat mental decline failed to show a clear benefit.

Recent laboratory research suggested a compound in tobacco called NNK provokes white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe neurological damage. There are almost 10 million smokers in the UK. The habit is still by far the biggest single cause of preventable illness and premature death.

It is a major contributory factor in causing heart disease and 39,000 lung cancer cases each year.

Dr Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘Research has repeatedly linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia. This study adds weight to that.

‘Cognitive decline as we age can develop into dementia, and unravelling the factors linked to this decline could be crucial for finding ways to prevent the condition.’

Jessica Smith, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘We all know smoking, a high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a high Body Mass Index is bad for our heart.

‘This adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too.’

One in three of the over-65s will develop dementia, she added.

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10 Replies

  • And if you've stopped smoking and taken to eating sweeties or crisps and pies instead, there's more bad news:

    Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, coined the term "type 3 diabetes" after her team was the first to discover the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets, and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, her work suggests Alzheimer's is a metabolic disease, one in which the brain's ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. To paraphrase, it's like having diabetes in the brain.

    Taken from 11 weird things sugar is doing to your body. So no smoking, no sweets, no processed food, no alcohol..........ummm is there anything left?

  • Yes! But I will have to meet someone first! Hee hee.... :)

  • haha, took me a while, was thinking eh? :D

  • :D :D :D :D

  • :D :D :D

  • 6,000 steps to beat the mid life bulge?. Well I've done 12,968 steps up to now today. I've walked 6 miles altogether this morning and after a 45 minute workout yesterday with the X Box Your shape Fitness evolved including press ups and skipping, lunges and squats, I am seriously struggling to actually get up off the sofa now haha.

  • Hi Sinfree your struggling, well I am cream crackered and not done half as much as you. Oh are cream crackers off the list too :D :D :D

  • oh most definitely. Made from overly processed wheat so I guess they're off the list too ;)

  • Well I'm buggered then! Had two grandmothers one with Alzheimers one with dementia, one grandad with Alzheimers and now my Mum has vascular dementia. Well I'd better start living whilst I'm still functioning! the only thing in my favour is that I'm not overweight (yet).

  • I am overweight but my FitBit tells me I've managed 7,500 steps today so I walk confidently into tommorrow knowing that at least I'm trying.

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