Smoking increases the chances of developing many diseases, including cancer, such as mouth and throat cancers, but a new study revealed that daily cigarette smoking reduces brain size.
A study of more than 28,000 people found that daily cigarette smoking reduces the size of your brain, according to Life Science.
Researchers from the Universities of Washington and North Carolina analyzed brain image data stored in the UK Biobank, a huge repository of genetic and health data, as well as scans.
The team also analyzed the participants’ self-reported smoking habits, as collected in the surveys.
Respondents conducted these surveys in 2006 and 2010, and then in 2012 and 2013. The brains of the participants were also imaged using magnetic resonance imaging.
Surprisingly, however, when the researchers compared people who never smoked daily with those who smoked on a daily basis, the MRI scans revealed that their brain volumes were smaller, on average, by 7.1 cubic centimeters.
This difference in brain size included a decrease of 5.5 cubic centimeters in the brain’s gray matter, which contains the massive bodies of brain cells, or neurons.
“It’s a very important study from a public health perspective,” said Dajiang Liu, a professor of genetics and smoking risk at Penn State University College of Medicine who was not involved in the study.
associated with neurological diseases
“Since brain shrinkage is associated with neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, establishing a causal link between smoking and reduced brain volume advances understanding of whether smoking directly causes these diseases.”
He pointed out that more experiments will help confirm the causal relationship between smoking and brain size, and the effectiveness of drugs that can help prevent the loss of brain tissue.
Scientists have previously found that people who smoke tend to have smaller brains than non-smokers, in terms of size, but it wasn’t clear at the time whether smoking causes brain shrinkage or if people with small brains are more likely to start smoking.
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