Over the age range studied (20-70 years old), hippocampus volume declined by ~12% in nonsmokers and by ~30% in smokers, meaning that chronic smoking more than doubled the rate of hippocampal volume loss occurring as a consequence of normal aging.
The study authors noted that the severity of hippocampal volume loss among older smokers in their study was on par with the severity of volume loss found in people with mild cognitive impairment, which could in part explain the increased risk among chronic smokers for developing dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Many smokers resolve to quit smoking as a New Year’s resolution. If you smoke, the findings from this study provide yet another reason to seriously consider trying to quit smoking during this holiday season.
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