Can Dementia Be Linked To Smoking Cessation?

Like caffeine, nicotine may be regarded as a stimulant. The neurotoxic and neuroprotective properties of nicotine had not been thoroughly investigated until recently. Also nicotine has a neuroprotective action in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. It protects neurons against the neurotoxicity caused by β-amyloid, the major component of senile plaques. People choose to smoke because they appreciate the psychoactive, stimulant effects of nicotine. Smokers report that smoking helps them concentrate, reason, and perform - observations consistent with studies demonstrating that nicotine improves attention, learning, reaction time, and problem solving. In a case study published in Neurobiology of Aging, a 65-year-old previously healthy Turkish man was admitted with altered mental status. After smoking for nearly 50 years he suddenly stopped smoking. His family members reported some changes in his behavior. He was apparently well 2 weeks before admission when he started showing episodes of intermittent confusion. Within 1 week he was unable to read a newspaper, dress himself or drive. A mental status exam revealed a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 18, with no limitation of language function. Motor exam was normal. Routine blood, urine tests and an electroencephalogram (EEG) showed no abnormality. Brain computed tomography showed multiple lacunal infarction and mild atrophy. His cognitive functions improved after initiation of nicotine preparations. Conclusions: In this case we emphasize that after cessation of smoking dementia symptoms may be seen.

For the abstract.


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