Society has been warned over the years about the dangers of smoking. Such hazards include, cancer, premature aging, gum disease, lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease, but while these facts may be universally known, a recent study shows that smoking affects a specific portion of the brain.
It has been discovered that smoking actually thins the cortex, which is a section of the brain’s outer layer. Many are unaware that the layer surrounding the brain thins while a human ages, it has been found that smoking speeds up this process significantly.
The cortex of the brain is responsible for memory, language, and perception, the functions of the brain that process the cognitive tasks of our thought process.
Those who have never smoked show signs of less detrition over an elapsed period of time. While this may be true, Sherif Karama, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at McGill states that people who quit smoking, “partially recover their cortical thickness for each year without smoking.” While this is true, Karama did want to shine a light on the fact that this process does occur very slowly.
Research has always indicated that smoking affects the brain, and according to the University of California, for young adults, it the effects the development of the brain, specifically the insula, a part of the brain that processes decision-making and monitoring internal states.
There has always been skepticism regarding what smoking actually does to the body and what causes the specific diseases and illness. In a study posted in The New England Journal of Medicine, it’s been claimed that, “A substantial portion of the excess mortality among current smokers between 2000 and 2011 was due to associations with diseases that have not been formally established as caused by smoking. These associations should be investigated further and, when appropriate, taken into account when the mortality burden of smoking is investigated.”
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