Study: Smoking and dementia might be linked

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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Graphic images raise awareness about the health risks of smoking
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Graphic images raise awareness about the health risks of smoking

A tobacconist dispalys new cigarette packs, plain with unbranded packaging and the health warnings, "Smoking causes nine out of ten lung cancers" (L) and "Smoking harms your lungs" (R) as part of anti-smoking legislation in a French 'Tabac' in Paris, France, January 2, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A tobacconist, wearing a mask, displays images which will be used for cigarette packaging during a protest in a French 'Tabac' in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, September 8, 2015. France's tobacconists are protesting plans to force cigarette companies to use plain, unbranded packaging, as part of anti-smoking legislation. Slogans read "smoking causes blindness, smoking causes peripheral vascular disease, smoking causes cancer".

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

A high school student looks at a mock up of plain cigarette packaging before the start of a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Packs of small cigars are displayed for sale by a tobacconist with health warnings as part of anti-smoking legislation in a French 'Tabac' in Paris, France, January 2, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

A high school student looks at a mock up of plain cigarette packaging before the start of a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

A tobacconist sells plain cigarette packs on October 12, 2016 in Ajaccio, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.

(PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP/Getty Images)

Mock-ups of plain cigarette packaging are seen before the start of a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, September 8, 2015. France's tobacconists are protesting plans to force cigarette companies to use plain, unbranded packaging, as part of anti-smoking legislation.

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

High school students look at a mock up of plain cigarette packaging before the start of a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, May 31, 2016.

(REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

A picture taken on October 12, 2016 in Ajaccio shows cigarettes bound in neutral packaging. The first cigarettes bound in neutral packaging, with no logo's or branding but bearing graphic images of the potential health risks of smoking arrived at tobacconists across France on October 10, 2016.

(PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP/Getty Images)

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