Adults aged 60 and older who smoke cigarettes may score less on cognitive tests, according to findings presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2022.
The results were established after combing through data by the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The data of over 3,000 participants, most of which were white women in late adulthood, were examined.
The participants had been instructed to take part in four tests designed to measure cognitive health.
Higher cotinine levels were associated with bad scores on the Digit Symbol Substitution Test, meant for the measurement of various aspects of cognition, such as processing speed, attention and working memory.
One co-author of the study said in a news release, “We were surprised to find that smoking does not act synergistically with high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes to impact cognitive performance.”
“To us, these results suggest that smoking has a strong enough influence on brain health independent of other health conditions. This means that smoking is bad for brain health even in people who don’t have other health conditions typically linked with poor brain health.”