Scientists discover disturbing new ‘side effect’ of smoking that damages the brain | The Sun

SMOKING cigarettes every day reduces the size of your brain, a new study has revealed.

The noggins of daily puffers tended to be about 0.4 cubic inches smaller than those who have never taken up the habit.

Scientists analysed more than 28,000 brain scans from the UK Biobank – a repository of genetic and health data – as well as self-reported smoking habits.

Participants completed surveys twice – once between 2006 and 2010, and again between 2012 and 2013.

During the second window, participants also underwent MRIs.

Researchers found that compared to people who had never smoked, respondents who did so daily had brain volumes that were 0.4 cubic inches smaller.


What your body odour says about your health – and when it could be deadly

I was a sunbed addict who only realised the dangers when I saw a lump in a selfie

This difference included a 0.3 cubic inch decrease in grey matter, which plays a significant role in memory and emotion, and 0.1 of white matter, which facilitates information transfer.

But the more frequently a person had lit up throughout their life, the more pronounced their brain shrinkage was.

For every additional year a participant had smoked one full pack a day, their brain decreased an average of 0.01 cubic inch in grey matter volume.

However, it was good news for quitters.

Most read in Health


The 'silent' cancer symptom that emerges on your shoulder & 3 other signs


What your body odour says about your health – and when it could be deadly


Urgent warning to parents over deadly meningitis threat to schoolkids


I'm a dietitian – here are five breakfast favourites I would never eat

Further analysis showed those who had stubbed out the habit had reversed the decline.

Each year without smoking was linked to a further 0.005 cubic inch increase in grey matter volume.

This became less significant the more recently they had stopped.

The report was shared on medRxiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Dr Dajiang Liu, who studies the genetics of smoking risk at the Penn State College of Medicine and was not involved in the study, told Live Science: "This is a very important study.

"The work is rigorously conducted and the result is important from a public health perspective."

Brain shrinkage – or cerebral atrophy – happens over time with age.

Symptoms include disorientation, memory loss, blurred vision, muscle weakness and loss of coordination.

It has been linked to several neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's.

Top tips for quitting smoking for good

GIVING up smoking has numerous benefits, but it can be tricky.

Once you have decided to quit, give these things a go to help you stop for good.

  1. List your reasons to quit.
  2. Tell people you're quitting.
  3. If you have tried to quit before, remember what worked.
  4. Use stop smoking aids.
  5. Have a plan if you are tempted to smoke.
  6. List your smoking triggers and how to avoid them.
  7. Keep cravings at bay by keeping busy.
  8. Exercise away the urge.
  9. Join the Facebook group for support and advice.

Source: NHS

Source: Read Full Article