Smoking and dementia
Researchers have discovered yet another reason for smokers to quit cigarettes: a reduced risk of developing dementia. For the study, scientists in South Korea regularly examined 46,140 men, all age 60 or older, over an average period of eight years. During that time, 1,644 of the subjects were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. After controlling for several factors, the researchers found that the less the men smoked, the less likely they were to develop the disease. Compared with continuous smokers, those who’d quit for up to four years had a 13 percent lower risk—a gap that grew to 14 percent for those who quit for four or more years, and to 19 percent for those who didn’t smoke at all. “Smoking cessation was clearly linked with a reduced dementia risk in the long term,” senior author Sang Min Park, from Seoul National University, tells FoxNews.com. Scientists say that smokers may face a heightened chance of developing dementia because the toxins in cigarettes can damage blood vessels, which in turn restricts blood flow—killing off brain cells used for memory, thinking, and reasoning.