Older smokers at risk of impaired memory

February 10th, 2011 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 10 (IANS) Older smokers are likely to damage their grey matter and lose cognitive functions at a greater rate than non-smokers. Cognitive functions involve thought, memory and information processes enabling us to learn new things and comprehend what is being said.

The study led by Osvaldo Almeida, research director of The University of Western Australia, found that chronic older smokers experienced a marked reduction of grey matter in certain brain regions, reports the journal NeuroImage.

“One finding that is really important from a health point of view is that chronic smokers who quit during the study lost less brain cells and retained better intellectual function than those who continued to smoke, according to Western Australia release.

“Over a two-year period smokers who had discontinued smoking showed similar rates of memory decline to people who never smoked,” Almeida said.

The study involved 332 community-living people who were aged 68 or more. Chronic smokers were classified as consuming more than five cigarettes daily for the last 12 months.

The smokers completed a diary and all volunteers were given medical and cognitive function assessments at six, 12 and 24 months after commencement.

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