Smoking and Dementia — Really??

Today the BBC reports a US study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine ( The study found that people who smoke more than two packs of cigarettes a day in mid-life have double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!

Here’s the thing: I guess that studies like this will add to our fund of knowledge about dementia. But we know that about 1/6 of people with dementia have vascular causes, for which smoking is a well-known risk. So maybe it’s a risk for Alzheimer-type dementia as well. But, have we ever found anything good about heavy smoking?? Don’t we have enough reasons to quit?? Did we have to prove that it raises the risk of Alzheimer’s in order to make adjustments in our public health policies??

Dr. Richard Taylor and I were recently discussing the fact that virtually all money raised for Alzheimer’s is devoted to research looking for “THE CURE” (which is a very problematic concept in this complex array of conditions which likely have a multiplicity of causative factors). What is grossly underfunded, is CARE.

So, with due respect to the fine researchers who published this study, couldn’t we devote a few bucks to improving the god-awful way our systems care for people with dementia, rather than toward doing studies with a high “duh” factor?

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3 Responses to Smoking and Dementia — Really??

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