Harvard Mental Health Letter

Smoking increases later risk of dementia

A large study provides one more reason to kick the habit.

Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia are the biological equivalents of slow-motion train wrecks. These degenerative brain disorders take years to develop. Some factors that predispose people to develop dementia — such as advanced age and genetic profile — cannot be changed. Scientists are therefore searching for modifiable risk factors that would help people reduce their risk of developing dementia.

One area of focus is cigarette smoking. The research so far is preliminary, but it suggests that smoking increases risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

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