Smoking & Drinking Causes Brain Injury?

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Add brain injury to all the other health-related woes that smokers and drinkers face over the long haul. Recent collaborations between researchers at the University of California and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs have uncovered a host of brain problems that result from alcohol and tobacco use:

“Recent neuroimaging studies of chronic smokers have shown brain structural and blood-flow abnormalities,” said Dieter J. Meyerhoff, professor of radiology at the University of California… “Specific cognitive dysfunction among active chronic smokers has been reported for auditory-verbal learning and memory, prospective memory, working memory, executive functions, visual search speeds, psychomotor speed and cognitive flexibility, general intellectual abilities, and balance.”

The overall effect of smoking and drinking is a net loss of cortical gray matter, which makes the brain vulnerable to other long-term problems. Brain injury should be a serious motivation for those interested in kicking their bad habits.

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