Cut down smoking to avoid cognitive ageing: Study

    New Delhi: Want to maintain sharp memory skills and cognitive function as you age? Cutting down on smoking suggests a large study that found it to be a key lifestyle factor linked to cognitive decline. The study, published in Nature Communications, is based on a 10-year survey of 32,000 adults aged 50 or over from 14 countries in Europe.

    The team led by researchers from the University College London, UK showed that cognitive decline was faster for lifestyles that included smoking. People who smoked had cognitive scores that declined up to 85 per cent more over 10 years than those who did not.

    Lead author Mikaela Bloomberg (UCL Behavioural Science & Health) said the study “is observational; it cannot definitively establish cause and effect, but it suggests smoking might be a particularly important factor influencing the rate of cognitive ageing”.

    As per previous studies, people who engaged in more healthy behaviours like regular exercise, and moderate alcohol intake have slower cognitive decline. However, it did not specify whether all behaviours contributed equally to cognitive decline.

    However, the new study showed that among the healthy behaviours, “not smoking may be the most important in terms of maintaining cognitive function”.

    Among those unable to stop smoking, the study suggests engaging in other healthy behaviours such as regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and remaining socially active “to offset adverse cognitive effects”, Mikaela said. (IANS)

    Also Read: World No Tobacco Day: Children most vulnerable to thirdhand smoke, says health experts (

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