No Smoking : Brain Size and Irreversible Even After Cessation


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No Smoking : Brain Size and Irreversible Even After Cessation

Smoking Is Associated with Reduced Brain Size and Irreversible Even After Cessation

According to research, smoking causes the brain to shrink and ages faster than it should. This effect persists even after quitting.


The study, which examined information from more than 32,000 people in the UK Biobank, found a clear correlation between smoking, a weakened genetic predisposition, and smaller brain size.


This finding highlights smoking’s detrimental and irreversible effects on brain health and highlights it as a modifiable risk factor for dementia.

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Important new information about the long-term neurological effects of smoking and the significance of quitting is provided by this research.


Important Details:

Smoking shrinks the brain, aging the brain prematurely, and even after quitting, the damage is permanent.
The study determined the relationship between smoking, genetics, and brain volume by analyzing data from the UK Biobank, which included over 32,000 participants.

The study highlights how crucial it is to give up smoking in order to stop additional brain damage and lower your risk of developing dementia.

Washington University is the source.

A study conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that smoking shrinks the brain.

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The good news is that stopping smoking stops additional brain tissue loss; however, the brain does not grow back to its pre-smoking size. According to the researchers, smoking essentially causes the brain to age prematurely because people’s brains naturally lose volume with age.

Smoking age in Bangalore

The results, which were published in Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, contribute to the understanding of why smokers have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

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Senior author Laura J. Bierut, MD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry, stated, “Until recently, scientists have overlooked the effects of smoking on the brain, in part because we were focused on all the terrible effects of smoking on the lungs and the heart.”


“However, it has become clear from our increased understanding of the brain that smoking is also extremely detrimental to your brain.”

Researchers have long recognized a connection between smoking and reduced brain volume, but they have never been able to pinpoint the exact cause.

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Genetics is a third factor to take into account. It is inherited that smoking habits and brain size are related. A person’s genetics account for about half of their smoking risk.


In order to clarify the connection between genes, brains, and behavior, graduate student Yoonhoo Chang and researcher Bierut examined data from the UK Biobank, an openly accessible biomedical database that comprises behavioral, medical, and genetic data on 500,000 individuals, the majority of whom are European.


Brain imaging was performed on a subset of more than 40,000 participants in the UK Biobank. This procedure can be used to measure brain volume.

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The group examined 32,094 individuals’ de-identified data on brain volume, smoking history, and genetic susceptibility to smoking.


The correlation between each pair of variables was established: genetic risk for smoking and brain volume, history of smoking and brain volume, and genetic risk for smoking and brain volume.

Smoking and age related macular degeneration

Moreover, there was a dose-dependent relationship between smoking and brain volume: the more packs a person smoked daily, the smaller their brain was.


The correlation between brain volume and genetic risk for smoking vanished when all three factors were taken into account, but the correlation between each of those and smoking behaviors persisted.

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The researchers ascertained the sequence of events: genetic predisposition leads to smoking, which leads to decreased brain volume. They did this by using a statistical technique known as mediation analysis.


Bierut remarked, “It sounds bad, and it is bad.” “An increase in age is correlated with a reduction in brain volume. This is critical as the population ages because dementia is exacerbated by smoking and aging.

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Regretfully, it appears that the shrinkage cannot be reversed. The researchers discovered that the brains of those who had given up smoking years earlier remained permanently smaller than the brains of those who had never smoked.


Chang remarked, “You can prevent more harm from occurring, but you can’t undo the damage that has already been done.” One modifiable risk factor is smoking.

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Quitting smoking is the one thing you can do to stop smoking from aging your brain and increasing your risk of dementia.

Regarding this news on neuroscience research

There is a continuous debate regarding whether smoking causes a lower brain volume or whether a lower brain volume is a risk factor for smoking, despite previous studies showing a negative association between brain volume and cigarette smoking.


In order to assess directionality, we employ a variety of techniques, including mediation analysis and Bradford Hill’s criteria, which are frequently employed in epidemiological research to identify causal relationships.



We looked at the correlation between brain volumes and a history of daily smoking in 32,094 individuals of European descent from the UK Biobank dataset. We also looked at the relationship between brain volumes and a genetic risk score for ever smoking.


Daily smoking history was found to be substantially linked to a decrease in brain volume, and heavier smoking history was linked to a larger decrease in brain volume.

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Total gray matter volume and a history of daily smoking were found to be most strongly associated (effect size = −2964 mm3, p = 2.04 × 10−16). A dose-response relationship was also observed, with more pack years smoked being associated with a greater decrease in brain volume.


loudness. A history of daily smoking was significantly correlated with a polygenic risk score for smoking initiation (effect size = 0.05, p = 4.20 × 10−84), but the total gray matter volume was only slightly correlated (effect size = −424 mm3, p =.01).

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The association between the smoking initiation polygenic risk score and total gray matter volume was found to be mediated by a history of daily smoking, according to a mediation analysis.


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