Long term smoking can have a detrimental effect on a person's cognitive abilities, especially among elderly smokers who lose their mental efficiency at a faster rate compared to non smokers, an Australian study reveals.
The study was lead by Osvaldo Almeida from The University of Western Australia who found that elderly smokers lose the grey matter in some of regions of the brain at a faster rate compared to their non smoking counterparts.
The researchers analyzed the brain efficiency of nearly 230 elderly smokers and compared them with 86 non smokers. They found that smokers over 68 years of age lost a large number of grey cells in the regions of the brain associated with active thinking and memory.
The analysis was conducted over a six month intervals for the next two years and the researchers found that those who quit smoking managed to stop the deterioration of the brain cells while those who failed to quit continued their mental decline.
"One finding that is really important from a health point of view is that chronic smokers who quit during the study lost less brain cells and retained better intellectual function than those who continued to smoke", Almeida wrote in the report which was published in the journal NeuroImage