Smoking can lessen IQ, thinking ability: study
A 15-year-old Chilean boy smokes during a family meeting in Santiago on September 6.|
The poorer mental function seen among alcoholics, many of whom also regularly smoke cigarettes, may be partially due to the long-term effects of nicotine, new research suggests.
"People who are also smokers are at a much higher risk," Dr. Jennifer M. Glass, of the University of Michigan's Addiction Research Center, said.
In her study, "cigarette smoking was negatively related to IQ and thinking," she said.
This finding may seem counterintuitive , since many smokers attest to feeling more alert and focused after smoking. Indeed, research shows that improved mental functioning is one of the immediate effects of nicotine exposure. Chronic smoking, however, is known to have the opposite effect.
Studies show that up to 87 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes. Yet, few studies have looked into cigarette smoking as a factor that might explain the cognitive deficits reported among alcoholics.
To investigate that association, Glass and her colleagues examined brain function among 172 men from the same community, including 103 men who abused alcohol.
The team found that men with higher scores on the lifetime alcohol problems scale (LAPS) and those who reported a higher number of pack-years of smoking both had lower IQ scores.
Upon further investigation, the researchers found that smoking also appeared to be independently associated with weaker verbal and visual-spatial reasoning.
Thus, though smoking did not account for all of the decreased neurocognitive functioning observed among the alcohol abusers, it did seem to account for some of the effects, the report indicates.
counterintuitive: contrary to what common sense would suggest(违反直觉的)
deficit: the property of being an amount by which something is less than expected or required(赤字、不足额)
abuse: to put to a wrong use; to misapply; to misuse; to put to a bad use(滥用)