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Smoking is worse for mental function than having high blood pressure or being overweight, according to a new study.
A sampling of 8,800 participants over age 50 were given various cognitive tests, including learning new words or naming as many animals as they could in a minute. They were then retested after intervals of four and eight years.
While the tests were originally done to determine the effects of the aging process, the research showed there was a “‘consistent association’ between smoking and lower scores in the tests,” BBC reported.
The media outlet quoted Dr. Simon Ridley from Alzheimer’s Research UK, who stated, “Research has repeatedly linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and this study adds further weight to that evidence.
“Cognitive decline as we age can develop into dementia, and unravelling the factors that are linked to this decline could be crucial for finding ways to prevent the condition.
“These results underline the importance of looking after your cardiovascular health from mid-life.”