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12 January 2009

Degeneration of mental function

Neurological experts stress that although nicotine stimulates the central nervous system, providing a temporary rush, it is unlikely to improve the way the mind functions.

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The lingering perception of smoking as an aid to inspiration and creativity is a myth, fostered primarily by images in popular culture of famous artists – writers especially – working in a cloud of smoke. Neurological experts stress that although nicotine stimulates the central nervous system, providing a temporary rush, it is unlikely to improve the way the mind functions.

Recent research suggests that smoking slows mental function as you age; older smokers lose cognitive ability at rates about five times faster than nonsmokers. Heavy smokers’ cognitive ability declines even faster.

The exact mechanisms of smoking-linked cognitive decline are not yet fully understood, but it is known that chronic nicotine use causes decreased blood flow to the brain (as it does to most organs).

Arteriosclerosis, which is strongly linked to smoking, can also lead to transient ischaemic attacks, or ‘mini-strokes’, which kill millions of brain cells at a time. Repeated mini-strokes may lead to decreased brain performance.

Read more:
Mental illnesses under-treated
Passive smoking can kill

 
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