By smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, smokers are accelerating regular brain ageing in ways that can damage our thinking skills, such as decision-making, planning, and problem-solving, recent research has revealed.
Fortunately, experts working on the study have said that it could be conceivable that the detrimental effects can be reversed by giving up the habit, even late in life, although the sooner you make the change, the better.
Scientists scrutinised Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scan data from 504 men and women with an average age of 73.
Roughly fifty percent of the participants were former or current smokers while the rest had evaded the use of tobacco all their lives.
The discoveries cited that smoking appeared to intensify the degree in which the outer layer of the brain, or cerebral cortex, thins with age.
This is the part of our brains that link to many higher functions, and is a large factor in our awareness, memory, attention, and language.
Professor Ian Deary, lead scientist and director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing at the University of Edinburgh, said: “It is important to know what is associated with brain health in older age and our study shows that the rate of smoking-related thinning to the brain is approximately twice the rate observed in previous, smaller studies.
“However, at the same time, our study also suggests that stopping smoking might allow the brain’s cortex to recover some of its thickness, though we need to conduct further studies to test this.”
Those who took part in the study who had given up smoking some time ago appeared to have a thicker cerebral cortex in comparison to those who were more recent quitters, signifying that they had experienced some degree of recovery.
The research, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, is part of The Disconnected Mind, a larger project investigating brain ageing funded by Age UK.
If you want to help to preserve these areas of your brain by giving up smoking, then why not look to our e-cigarette and e-liquid range as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking?