Quite a few individuals may be aware about the ill-effects of smoking. A latest study asserts that tobacco smoking is correlated with large-scale and wide-spread structural brain abnormalities. If this piece of information is to be believed then, smoking has a cumulative effect on the brain.
The cerebral cortex is supposedly involved in important higher-order functions such as language, information processing, and memory. Previously declined cortical thickness was associated with normal aging, reduced intelligence, and impaired cognition, but the impact of smoking was not revealed. In the current investigation, scientists compared cortical thickness in smokers and never-smokers. None of the participants were diagnosed with any medical or psychiatric illnesses.
“Since the brain region in which we found the smoking-associated thinning has been related to impulse control, reward processing and decision making, this might explain how nicotine addiction comes about. In a follow-up study, we plan to explore the rehabilitative effects of quitting smoking on the brain,” said Dr. Simone Kühn.
Cortical thinning in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex of smokers was registered. This cortical thickness may be linked with the amount of cigarettes smoked a day and the magnitude of lifetime exposure to tobacco smoke. So heavier smoking possibly develops more thinning of cortical tissue. Authors suggest that smoking-related cortical thinning further elevates risk for addictions like smoking.
The study is published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.