Smoking and memory damage

A new study from Northumbria University has found that people who smoke only on weekends cause as much damage to their memory as those who smoke every day.

ImageThe Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research Group in Northumbria’s School of Life Sciences tested 28 “social smokers” who smoke around 20 cigarettes once or twice a week, typically when out at the weekend, along with 28 people who smoke 10 to 15 cigarettes daily and 28 people who had never smoked. The researchers gave them a video-based prospective memory test to do.

Participants were asked to remember a series of pre-determined actions at specific locations when viewing a short clip of a busy street. For example, they were asked to remember to text a friend when passing a particular store.

In the first study of its kind, the researchers in the study found that both groups of smokers performed worse than those who had never smoked, with no difference according to the pattern of smoking.

“Smoking-related memory decline in general has been linked with increases in accelerated cerebral degeneration such as brain shrinkage,” says Dr. Tom Heffernan, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, who conducted the research with Dr. Terence O’Neill. “This new research suggests that restricting smoking to weekends makes no difference – smoking damages your memory.”

SOURCE: Northumbria University

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