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TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who smoke heavily in midlife appear to have a higher risk of dementia -- including Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia -- decades later, according to research published online Oct. 25 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Minna Rusanen, M.D., of the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, and colleagues analyzed data from 21,123 members of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California, who disclosed their smoking history when they were 50 to 60 years old and were followed for a mean 23 years.
The researchers found that 25.4 percent of the participants were diagnosed with dementia during follow-up. Compared to nonsmokers, those who smoked more than two packs daily had a higher risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.14), Alzheimer's disease (aHR, 2.57), and vascular dementia (aHR, 2.72).
"Our study suggests that heavy smoking in middle age increases the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia for men and women across different race groups. The large detrimental impact that smoking already has on public health has the potential to become even greater as the population worldwide ages and dementia prevalence increases," the authors conclude.
A co-author disclosed financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.
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