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September 03, 2007

Smokers over the age of 55 were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than similar nonsmokers

This is a study by the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, which followed nearly 7,000 people age 55 and older for an average of 7 years.

Smoking did not affect the Alzheimer risk for people who had the well-known gene that raises the risk of dementia called APOE4 or apolipoprotein E4. But those who did not have the gene had a 70% higher risk of Alzheimer disease.

The proposed mechanism for the dementia caused by smoking is multi-infarct dementia. that is, multiple small strokes that damage brain tissue.

I'm blogging about this story to highlight the fact that vascular disease is the most pervasive morbidity caused by smoking compared to lung cancer which is commonly thought of as the major risk to smokers. The other major consequence of smoking is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which tends to be underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Study finds smokers have higher risk of dementia - Yahoo! News

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