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Puffing on cigarettes increases your risk of dementia, new research suggests.
Those who don’t smoke, or had quit smoking, had less chance of developing the degenerative brain condition than those who still smoke cigarettes, according to a Korean study.
Those who has smoked long-term but recently quit had a 14 percent less chance of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
They also had a 32 percent reduced chance of developing vascular dementia — one of the most common forms of the disease.
While those who had never smoked had 19 percent less chance of developing Alzheimer’s and a 29 percent less chance of developing vascular dementia.
The study, published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology followed 46,140 men aged over 60 who took part in a Korean health screening.
"Smoking cessation was clearly linked with a reduced dementia risk in the long term, indicating that smokers should be encouraged to quit in order to benefit from this decreased risk," said senior author Dr. Sang Min Park, of Seoul National University, in Korea.
Smoking has previously been linked to inflammation in the body, which can lead to a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s have also been linked to inflammation.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia in the U.K. after Alzheimer’s disease, where the brain is damaged due to a lack of blood flow.
If the vascular system within the brain becomes damaged – so that the blood vessels leak or become blocked — then blood cannot reach the brain cells and they will eventually die.
The toxins in cigarettes can cause this kind of damage to blood vessels.
This death of brain cells can cause problems with memory, thinking or reasoning, and when these cognitive problems are bad enough to impact on daily life, it is known as vascular dementia.
There are several different types of vascular dementia, due to the varying levels of damage on the affected part of the brain.
They include stroke-related dementia, single-infarct and multi-infarct dementia, subcortical vascular dementia and mixed dementia – which includes both vascular and Alzheimer’s disease.
Earlier this year new research found smoking could cause dementia by clogging up the part of the brain crucial for memory.
Cigarettes create a build up of calcium in the section that stores memories of recent and past experiences, experts found.
The area most affected is the gray matter in the hippocampus – the centre of emotion, memory and the nervous system in our brains.
A Dutch study of almost 2,000 older people found those who smoked were more likely to have the formations of calcium, which can cause the disease.
This story originally appeared on The Sun. Read more content from The Sun here
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