Study: Smoking and dementia might be linked

Sam Berman

Adding to the list of health risks associated with smoking cigarettes, scientists say dementia and smoking might be linked.

Newsweek reports that scientists in South Korea studied more than 46,000 men at least 60 years old who were registered to a screening program from 2002 to 2013. The men documented their smoking habits between 2002 and 2003, and then in 2004 and 2005.

In 2006, researchers assessed the men for eight years to see if they developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. They were categorized as continual smokers, short term quitters, long term quitters and non-smokers.

In the end, the authors concluded that smoking was associated with an increased risk of dementia, however there is somewhat good news. They also found that people who quit long term could reverse the risk of dementia to some extent.

According to the World Health Organization, while fewer people around the world are smoking, in fact rates of dementia are expected to triple by 2050 and there is currently no cure. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability, like memory loss, that is severe enough to interfere with daily life.

The study was published in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

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