Stories tagged 2005 Katrina

Nov
26
2012

Smoking messes up your brain's cognitive skills: Sure it's funny now, but see if you can remember to laugh about it in your 50s, pal.
Smoking messes up your brain's cognitive skills: Sure it's funny now, but see if you can remember to laugh about it in your 50s, pal.Courtesy jaduarte
I don’t know why this should surprise anyone, but a study coming from King’s College in London suggests that smoking not only adversely affects your physical health but also damages your mental health, reducing your brain’s capacity to learn, reason, and remember.

The study was published in the journal Age and Aging and involved lifestyle data gathered from 8,800 people over 50 years of age. The study was looking for links between the likelihood of stroke or heart attack, and the condition of the brain. Four years after the initial data was collected, participants were examined again, and given brain tests, such as naming as many animals as they could in a minute’s time, or learning new words. The same tests were administered again eight years later.

Not only did participants with high-risk physical conditions such as obesity or high blood pressure fair poorly in the cognitive tests, but those who smoked had a “consistent association” with lower scores as well.

"We have identified a number of risk factors which could be associated with accelerated cognitive decline, all of which, could be modifiable," said Dr. Alex Dregan, one of the researchers involved. "We need to make people aware of the need to do some lifestyle changes because of the risk of cognitive decline."

LINKS
BBC story
Heavy smoking and dementia

I'm recommending this New York Times article about turtles and their amazing abilities to withstand adversity. They can go without food and water for months at a time, their armored bodies can withstand the impact of a stampeding wildebeast, and they're among the longest-living creatures on Earth. And they don't succumb to old age: if they didn't get eaten, smashed by cars, or pick up diseases, they just might live indefinitely. But for all that, at least half of all turtle species are in trouble, and some of them may be extinct within the next decade.