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Smoking can increase the chances of memory loss and confusion in mid-life

Smoking can increase the chances of memory loss and confusion in mid-life

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Summary: Middle-aged smokers are more likely to report memory problems and cognitive decline than nonsmokers. The likelihood of cognitive decline was lower for those who quit smoking, the researchers reported.

source: The Ohio State University

Middle-aged smokers are much more likely to report memory loss and confusion than nonsmokers, and cognitive decline is less likely in those who have quit even recently, a new study finds.

The Ohio State University study is the first to examine the link between smoking and cognitive decline using a single-question self-report, asking people whether they experienced worsening or more frequent memory loss and/or confusion.

The findings build on previous research that has found links between smoking and Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and could point to an opportunity to identify signs of problems earlier in life, said Jenna Rajczyk, lead author of the study. which appears in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

It’s also more evidence that quitting smoking is good not only for respiratory and cardiovascular reasons, but also for preserving neurological health, said Rajczyk, Ph.D. student in the Ohio State College of Public Health and senior author Jeffrey Wing, assistant professor of epidemiology.

“The association we saw was most significant in the 45-59 age group, suggesting that giving up at this stage of life may have benefits for cognitive health,” Wing said. No such difference was found in the oldest group in the study, which may mean that quitting earlier gives people greater benefits, he said.

Data for the study came from the 2019 National Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Study and allowed the research team to compare measures of subjective cognitive decline (SCD) for current smokers, recent ex-smokers and those who had quit years earlier. The analysis included 136,018 people aged 45 and over, and about 11% reported SCD.

The prevalence of SCD among smokers in the study was almost 1.9 times that of nonsmokers. The prevalence among those who had quit less than 10 years ago was 1.5 times that of nonsmokers. Those who had quit more than a decade before the study had a prevalence of SCD slightly above the non-smoker group.

The findings build on previous research that has found links between smoking and Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and could point to an opportunity to identify signs of problems earlier in life. Image is in the public domain

“These findings could mean that time after smoking cessation matters and may be related to cognitive outcomes,” Rajczyk said.

The simplicity of the SCD, a relatively new measure, may lend itself to broader applications, she said.

“It’s a simple assessment that can easily be done routinely, and at a younger age than usual, we’re starting to see cognitive declines that rise to the level of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia,” Rajczyk said.

“This is not an intensive battery of questions. It’s more of a personal reflection of your cognitive status to determine if you feel like you’re not as perceptive as you used to be.

Many people don’t have access to more in-depth screenings or to specialists, making the potential applications for measuring SCD even greater, she said.

Wing said it’s important to note that these self-reported experiences do not constitute a diagnosis, nor do they independently confirm that a person is experiencing a deviation from the normal aging process. But, he said, they could be a cheap and simple tool to consider using more widely.

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About this news about memory and smoking research

Author: Misty Crane
source: The Ohio State University
Contact: Misty Crane – The Ohio State University
Image: Image is in the public domain

Original Research: Free access.
Association between smoking status and subjective cognitive decline in middle-aged and older adults: A cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.by Jenna I. Rajczyk et al. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease


Summary

Association between smoking status and subjective cognitive decline in middle-aged and older adults: A cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Background: Smoking status may influence subjective cognitive decline (SCD); however, few studies have evaluated this relationship. Objective: To assess whether smoking status is associated with SCD among middle-aged and older adults and to determine whether this association is modified by gender at birth.

Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using data from the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey to analyze the association between SCD and smoking status (current, recent past, and remote past). Eligible respondents included participants aged 45 years or older who answered the SCD and tobacco questions of interest. Study-weighted Poisson regression models were used to estimate crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (cPR/aPR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the association between smoking status and SCD. A Wald test was calculated to determine the significance of the interaction term between smoking status and gender (α = 0.05).

Results: There were 136,018 eligible respondents, of whom approximately 10% had SCD. There is a graded association between smoking and SCD, with the highest prevalence of SCD among current smokers (aPR = 1.87; CI: 1.54, 2.28), followed by recent ex-smokers (aPR = 1.47; 95% CI: 1.02, 2.12), and distant former smokers (aPR = 1.11; 95% CI: 0.93, 1.33) each compared with never smokers. There was no evidence of effect modification by gender (p interaction = 0.73).

Conclusion: The consistency of smoking as a risk factor for objective and subjective cognitive decline supports the need for future studies to further evidence whether changes in smoking status affect cognition in midlife.


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