Quitting smoking may improve your memory
Wednesday 21 September 2011
New research finds that quitting smoking can bolster your memory.
In a study reported on science news website Science Daily on September 20, former smokers performed on average 25 percent better on memory tests than current smokers did. Those who never smoked scored 37 better than the smokers.
"We already know that giving up smoking has huge health benefits for the body, but this study also shows how stopping smoking can have knock-on benefits for cognitive function, too," said study researcher Tom Heffernan, a psychology professor at Northumbria University in England, in a press release.
Previous studies have shown that quitting smoking improves "retrospective memory," which is the ability to learn new information and retrieve it later.
The newest study, however, measured what is called "prospective memory," or the ability to remember to carry out a particular action at some future point in time, such as picking up milk after work or taking daily medication at a set time.
It is unclear exactly how smoking interferes with cognitive function, but the researchers suggest that smoking could damage areas of the brain linked with memory.
The study is published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
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