John (Gold)
John (Gold)

February 9th, 2005, 6:28 am #11

No, Nicotine Probably Doesn't
Ward Off Alzheimer's

Mon Feb 7, 5:31 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The final excuse for smoking -- that it might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease -- has just been stubbed out, findings from an animal study suggest.[/size]

Past animal and human studies have indicated that nicotine exposure inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, a key feature of Alzheimer's disease. However, the new study shows that chronic nicotine use appears to worsen the effects of a brain protein called tau, which is responsible for the fibrous tangles that are the other hallmark of the disease.

So, at best, the effects of nicotine are probably canceled out, according to the researchers.

Dr. Frank M. LaFerla, from the University of California at Irvine, and colleagues administered nicotine to a genetically engineered strain of mice that develops Alzheimer's disease.

Nicotine treatment produced an increase in nicotine receptors in the animals' brains that correlated with a dramatic rise in the aggregation and activity of the tau protein. This indicates that the disease-causing effects of tau were worsened, the team reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Moreover, in these experiments, chronic nicotine administration had no effect on levels of soluble amyloid, the researchers point out.

The results emphasize the importance of assessing nicotine's affects on all aspects of the disease, they write. "Our findings suggest that the use of nicotine as a potential therapy for Alzheimer's disease should be reevaluated."

SOURCE: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, early edition February 7, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

May 19th, 2005, 5:50 pm #12

Heavy smoking 'may affect memory'
BBC News UK Edition
Thursday, May 19, 2005

Prolonged heavy nicotine use has a negative effect on day-to-day memory, according to research. Researchers from five universities asked smokers and non-smokers to rate their long-term memory, for example remembering to send birthday cards.

They found that smoking significantly impaired memory, with heavy smokers reporting the most errors.

The survey was carried out by teams from Newcastle, Wales, Northumbria, Westminster and Teesside universities.

The survey involved more than 700 people.

Researcher Dr Tom Heffernan, of the human cognitive neuroscience unit at Northumbria University, also tested everyday memory including remembering where people had put things.

'More problems'

The teams also took into consideration how much people smoked - a heavy smoker was classed as having more than 15 cigarettes a week and a light smoker between one and four cigarettes a week.

Dr Heffernan said: "The result of the study revealed that smokers reported more errors in their long-term memory than non-smokers with an additional difference between non-smokers and heavy smokers.

"There was also a significant detrimental effect of cigarette use on everyday memory function.

"For example a typical heavy smoker reported 22% more memory-related problems than a non smoker and around 12% more problems than those who smoked only relatively a small number of cigarettes.

"It is concluded that chronic, heavy smoking is associated with impairments in everyday memory, although the precise nature of the deficits are as yet unknown."

The research was carried out via an internet questionnaire and published in scientific journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Copyright BBC News 2005

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 31st, 2006, 10:57 pm #13

Smoking impacts on prefrontal attentional network function in young adult brains. Psychopharmacology (Berl), August 2006 [Epub ahead of print]

Musso F, Bettermann F, Vucurevic G, Stoeter P, Konrad A, Winterer G.

Department of Psychiatry, Heinrich-Heine University, Bergische Landstr. 2, 40629, Duesseldorf, Germany.

RATIONALE: There is abundant evidence from clinical and preclinical studies that acute administration of nicotine has beneficial effects on attentional network function in the brain. In contrast, little is known about potentially neurotoxic effects on the attentional network during neurodevelopmentally critical periods, such as during adolescence and early adulthood.

METHODS: Using event-related functional MRI (fMRI), we investigated prefrontal attentional network function in young adults (n=15 regular smokers and n=12 never-smokers; age: 22.61.5 years). Duration of smoking was 6.92.3 years (range of 2-10). Smokers were allowed to smoke ad libitum before the fMRI scanning was conducted.

RESULTS: As expected from literature, prefrontal attentional network activity was significantly reduced in smokers compared to nonsmokers (Z=2.1; P=0.036). In smokers, we found that the history of smoking duration (years) is directly related to the extent of diminished attentional network activity (R=-0.67; P=0.012).

CONCLUSIONS: To our best knowledge, the relationship between the duration of smoking history and prefrontal attentional network function has not yet been reported. This finding might suggest that several years of chronic nicotine abuse may be sufficient to exert long-lasting effects on the brain function of adolescents and young adults.

PMID: 16937098 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Source link:

Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

January 30th, 2010, 7:30 pm #14

Study shows cigarette smoking a risk for Alzheimer’s disease ... s-disease/


[font='ARIAL','SANS-SERIF']Cigarette Smoking is a Risk
Factor for Alzheimer's Disease:
An Analysis Controlling for
Tobacco Industry Affiliation

[font='ARIAL','SANS-SERIF']Journal of Alzheimer's Disease[/font]

[font='ARIAL','SANS-SERIF']Volume 19, Number 2 / 2010, Pages 465-480[/font]

Cataldo JK, Prochaska JJ, Glantz SA

[font='ARIAL','SANS-SERIF']To examine the relationship between smoking and Alzheimer's disease (AD) after controlling for study design, quality, secular trend, and tobacco industry affiliation of the authors, electronic databases were searched; 43 individual studies met the inclusion criteria. For evidence of tobacco industry affiliation, was searched.

One fourth (11/43) of individual studies had tobacco-affiliated authors. Using random effects meta-analysis, 18 case control studies without tobacco industry affiliation yielded a non-significant pooled odds ratio of 0.91 (95% CI, 0.75-1.10), while 8 case control studies with tobacco industry affiliation yielded a significant pooled odds ratio of 0.86 (95% CI, 0.75-0.98) suggesting that smoking protects against AD. In contrast, 14 cohort studies without tobacco-industry affiliation yielded a significantly increased relative risk of AD of 1.45 (95% CI, 1.16-1.80) associated with smoking and the three cohort studies with tobacco industry affiliation yielded a non-significant pooled relative risk of 0.60 (95% CI 0.27-1.32). A multiple regression analysis showed that case-control studies tended to yield lower average risk estimates than cohort studies (by -0.27 0.15, P=0.075), lower risk estimates for studies done by authors affiliated with the tobacco industry (by -0.37 0.13, P=0.008), no effect of the quality of the journal in which the study was published (measured by impact factor, P=0.828), and increasing secular trend in risk estimates (0.031/year 0.013, P=0.02).

The average risk of AD for cohort studies without tobacco industry affiliation of average quality published in 2007 was estimated to be 1.72 0.19 (P< 0.0005). The available data indicate that smoking is a significant risk factor for AD.


Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

April 30th, 2010, 2:49 pm #15

Smoking cessation and Alzheimer's disease:
facts, fallacies and promise
Expert Rev Neurother. 2010 May;10(5):629-31.

Cataldo JK, Glantz SA.

Over 37 million people suffer with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a number that will quadruple by 2050

[1]. Delaying the onset of AD by just 5 years would reduce the number of cases by 50% [1]. Current US FDA-approved AD drugs do not prevent or reverse the disease and provide only moderate symptomatic benefits. Lacking a cure, there is growing interest in prevention and treatment to slow AD progression. In a recent review, we found that smoking almost doubled the risk of AD [2]...

Even though smoking cessation can provide older smokers with increased quality and quantity of life, older smokers are asked to quit less often, given fewer resources and provided with less guidance than younger smokers
[23,26]. The myth that smoking protects against AD may discourage cessation attempts among older smokers and contribute to the reluctance of healthcare providers to treat tobacco dependence in older smokers [23]. While there is not yet any research on the effects of smoking cessation on AD risk and progression, given that smoking is a significant risk factor for CVD and AD, it makes sense that smoking cessation should become an integral part of the prevention and treatment of AD. Even as we research the specific effects of smoking cessation as an intervention to prevent or slow AD, because of its many other benefits, smoking cessation needs to become a priority in the care of all older smokers.
Note: Full text PDF freely available from link immediately above.

Referenced J Alzheimers Dis study:


Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

September 4th, 2010, 3:23 pm #16

Smoking and everyday prospective memory:
A comparison of self-report
and objective methodologies

Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2010 August 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Heffernan T, O'Neill T, Moss M.


AIMS: To examine whether persistent smoking leads to impairments in self-reported and objective measures of prospective memory (PM: the cognitive ability to remember to carry out activities at some future point in time).

METHODS: An opportunity sample of 18 existing smokers and 22 who had never smoked were compared. An existing-groups design was utilised, comparing a smoking group with a never-smoked control group as the independent factor. Scores on the sub-scales of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ) and scores on the Cambridge Prospective Memory Test (CAMPROMPT) constituted the dependent factors. Age, mood, other drug use, strategy scores and IQ were also measured. Each participant was tested in a laboratory setting. Self-reported PM lapses were measured using the PRMQ. The CAMPROMPT was used as an objective measure of PM. Alcohol and other drug use were assessed by a Recreational Drug Use Questionnaire. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale gauged levels of anxiety and depression. A strategy scale measured the number of strategies used to aid memory. The National Adult Reading Test measured IQ.

RESULTS: After observing no between-group differences on age, mood, alcohol use, strategy use, and IQ, smokers and the never-smoked did not differ on the self-reported lapses measured on the PRMQ. However, smokers recalled significantly fewer items on the CAMPROMPT than the never-smoked group.

CONCLUSION: The results of the present study suggest that persistent smoking leads to impairments in everyday PM.

PubMed Link:

Interesting tidbits from the above study, weekly alcohol consumption was slightly greater in the non-smoking group than the smoking group, while anxiety and depresson levels where both higher among smokers.  When looking at research we need to remain mindful that nicotine is both a stimulant and a toxin.  While smokers in this study clearly sensed central nervous system stimulation with each puff, what they could not sense was smoke's gradual toxic effects upon brain tissues.   Still just one guiding principle to keeping our memory here on the free side of the bars ... no nicotine today!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x11)
Last edited by JohnPolito on September 4th, 2010, 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.


October 3rd, 2010, 6:25 pm #17

It's Work Being a Smoker
Their Brain Gets Worked Harder

The conclusion of the below study suggests that from the brain's point of view it's work being a smoker.  To quote from the full text of the study, "We speculate that smokers may experience higher working memory demands during task performance as a result of intrusive thoughts related to smoking." 

The paper also explores conflicts between some studies suggesting that nicotine has a positive effect upon working memory while others find that it doesn't.  The authors believe that what researchers are seeing is nicotine's effects as a nervous system stimulant (the body's fight or flight response) and not due to any enhanced function of the brain.  To again quote the authors, "the cognitive-enhancing properties of nicotine may be specific to alerting and orienting domains of attention and may not generalize to executive control operations."
Chronic smoking, but not acute
nicotine administration, modulates
neural correlates of working memory
Journal:  Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print]

Authors:  Sutherland MT, Ross TJ, Shakleya DM, Huestis MA, Stein EA.


RATIONALE: Beyond the amelioration of deprivation-induced impairments, and in contrast to effects on attentional processes, the cognitive-enhancing properties of nicotine on working memory (WM) operations remain unclear.

OBJECTIVES: In an effort to elucidate potential enhancing effects, we explored the impact of transdermal nicotine on neural functioning in minimally deprived smokers and, in addition, assessed differences between smokers and non-smokers using a mixed block/event-related fMRI design that attempted to isolate specific central executive operations (attentional switch events) within general WM function (task blocks).

METHODS: In task blocks, participants performed a continuous counting paradigm that required the simultaneous maintenance of, and frequent switching of attentional focus between, two running tallies in WM on some trials. Cigarette smokers (n = 30) were scanned twice, once each with a nicotine and placebo patch, while non-smokers (n = 27) were scanned twice with no patch.

RESULTS: Across both groups, task blocks were associated with bilateral activation, notably in medial and lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), anterior insula, and parietal regions, whereas individual attentional switch trials were associated with activation in a similar, but predominantly left-lateralized network. Within the smoker group, although nicotine increased heart rate, altered performance and mood, and reduced tobacco cravings, no acute drug (state-like) effect on brain activity was detected for either the task or switch effects. However, relative to non-smokers, smokers showed greater tonic activation in medial superior frontal cortex, right anterior insula, and bilateral anterior PFC throughout task blocks (trait-like effect).

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest smokers require recruitment of additional [working memory] and supervisory control operations during task performance.

Journal Link: ""

PubMed Link:  ""
Last edited by FreedomNicotine on October 3rd, 2010, 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: November 11th, 2008, 7:22 pm

March 9th, 2012, 4:21 pm #18

A Comparison of Social (Weekend) Smokers, Regular (Daily) Smokers and a Never-Smoked Group Upon Everyday Prospective Memory

The Open Addiction Journal, 2011, 4, Pages 72-75

Link to free full-text PDF copy of study - ... TOADDJ.pdf

Authors: Tom Heffernan and Terence O'Neill

Collaboration for Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastleupon-Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK


Our previous studies suggested that smokers have a worse performance on everyday prospective memory (PM) tasks than non-smokers. The present study compared regular and social smokers to see if there is a dose-response relationship between smoking and PM. We recruited 28 social (weekend) smokers (SS), 28 regular (daily) smokers (RS) and 28 people who had never smoked (NS) from among social science students who reported no psychiatric or drug and alcohol problems. The participant’s PM was assessed by means of a Prospective Remembering Video Procedure (PRVP).

After controlling for between-group variations in weekly (moderate) alcohol use, mood and IQ, the findings revealed that NS performed better than RS (F= 1.44, p<0.01) and SS (F= 1.70, p<0.01), with no significant difference between RS and SS (F= 1.00, p=.38).

Smokers have a lower performance on our PM task than non-smokers, regardless of the type of smoking pattern.

Keywords: Social smokers, regular smokers, never-smoked group, prospective memory.

What follows are quotations from the intro portion of the study.
Numbers are to footnotes which can be seen at this link

There are a range of cognitive deficits associated with prolonged smoking including deficits in psychomotor speed [3], verbal and visual memory [4, 5], working memory [4, 6-9] and executive function [10-13]. It should be noted that some of the previous research has shown mixed effects of smoking upon memory, including no change or enhancement [see e.g. 14, 15], however this early research was confounded by a lack of an adequate control group (i.e. the lack of a non-smoking comparison group) or had used deprived smokers (where the ‘enhancement’ shown in memory reflects a return to baseline cognitive performance following a period of smoking abstinence). In addition, this work has tended to focus on retrospective memory, with much less focus upon what impact prolonged smoking has upon everyday memory processes. One example of everyday memory is prospective memory (PM) - which refers to the cognitive ability to carry out particular planned action(s) at some future point(s) in time [16, 17]. PM is important because the successful management of everyday tasks is crucial to independent living [17] and problems with PM might best reflect the difficulties experienced by smokers in their daily lives. PM failures can seriously disrupt everyday living, ranging from the less serious forms (e.g. forgetting to post a birthday card on time), to very serious forms of lapses (e.g. forgetting to take an important medication on time).

Only a handful of studies have focused on smoking-related PM deficits. In two of these studies smokers reported significantly more self-reported PM lapses (e.g. forgetting to meet with friends on time, posting letters on time) when compared with never-smoked groups [18, 19] and a further study found smoking-related PM deficits when compared with never-smoked group on an objective measure in the form of the Cambridge Prospective Memory Test which provided a laboratory-based measure of PM [20]. These findings were observed after controlling for a range of other factors, e.g. other drug use and mood. A recent focus in the smoking literature is the distinction between ‘social’ and ‘regular’ smoking as distinct patterns of smoking [see e.g. 21, 22]. A social smoker can be defined as a person who smokes a fairly large quantity of cigarettes in a short session (i.e. within a few hours) on a handful of occasions across the week (e.g. when going out at the weekend with friends). Regular smokers are those who smoke on a daily basis, regardless of any activity in which they are engaged. It has been suggested that social smokers exhibit a different psychobiological profile from regular smokers [22], but no work to date has compared social and regular smokers on cognition in general, or on everyday cognition in the form of prospective remembering. If the association between smoking and memory functioning is causal, we would expect a dose-response, i.e. a more severe deficit in heavier smokers compared to occasional smokers.

The current study therefore aims to address this by comparing ‘social (weekend) smokers’, ‘regular (daily) smokers’, and a never-smoked control group on an objective PM measure in the form of the Prospective Remembering Video Procedure (PRVP). The PRVP involves remembering a series of pre-determined location-action combinations whilst viewing a short CD clip of a busy shopping high street, giving the procedure ecological validity since it is more akin to remembering within a real-world context. The PRVP is based on a methodology used previously to reveal selective PM deficits in both cannabis users [23] and binge drinkers [24]. Other recreational drug use (e.g. alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy) were also measured and analysed - since these variables are known to affect PM performance independently [25, 26]. Given that mood (e.g. anxiety, depression) can interact with drug use upon cognition and memory [27] and that mood has been shown to influence PM directly [28], this was also measured and its relationship to the main PM was analysed. Finally, variations in IQ were measured since this good performance on IQ (using the National Adult Reading Test) correlates well with good PM performance [29].