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Smoking May Be Especially Tough on Men's Brains
Date:2/6/2012

among smokers," the study authors pointed out in a journal news release.

It is important to note that while the study uncovered an association between smoking and mental decline in men, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Gordon agreed that questions remain on the exact link between smoking and brain health. "The mechanism of how smoking results in increased [mental] decline remains unclear," he said. "In this study, the effect was not explained by cardiovascular disease, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, or impaired lung function."

The researchers found no link between smoking and declines in mental abilities in women. The reasons for this gender difference aren't clear, but the fact that men tend to smoke more cigarettes than women may be one explanation, they suggested.

According to Gordon, the study's sample size might also be a factor. "There was a smaller proportion of women (about 30 percent) in the cohort [and] a higher percentage of women had never smoked," he pointed out.

More information

The American Heart Association outlines the risks of smoking.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCES: Marc Gordon, M.D., chief of neurology, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y.; JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 6, 2012


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