The study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan clearly suggests that the consumption of snuff long term is associated with slowness in thinking and at a rate lower intelligence.
The association between consumption of snuff long term and a decline in mental abilities in 172 male alcoholics and non-alcoholics has been a surprising finding of the study whose main purpose was originally to examine the long term alcoholism effect on the ability of the brain and thought.
Although researchers confirmed previous results as alcoholism is associated with thinking problems and a number of less intelligence, analysis revealed that long-term smoking is too. The effect on memory, problem-solving ability and IQ was most pronounced among those who had smoked for years. Among the alcoholic men, smoking was associated with a diminished capacity in mental agility, even after taken into account consumption of alcohol and drugs.
The results are the first to suggest a direct link between smoking and neurocognitive function in alcoholics. And they suggest that snuff is linked to impaired intellectual ability even among men without alcohol problems.
Lead author Jennifer Glass, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, notes that the results need to be replicated by other studies before drawing any conclusions about the effect of smoking on the brain, or before the results they may consider relevant to women.
But, she said, the results should encourage researchers from alcoholism to reexamine their data, now estimating the impact of smoking, a factor not usually considered in studies on the effects of alcoholism on the brain, despite the fact that between 50 to 80 percent of alcoholics smoke.
Meanwhile, the team that university is launching a study to examine the issue in adolescents, and plans shortly to examine other 172 men
The exact mechanism of the impact of snuff in the higher brain functions remains unclear, but may involve both neurochemical effects and damage to the blood vessels supplying the brain. This is consistent with other findings that people with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases tend to have impaired neurocognitive function.