Background and purpose: Smoking is a major risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. However, the exact pathobiology of smoking remains unknown. The effects of smoking on cortical thickness as a biomarker of neurodegeneration or white matter hyperintensities and lacunes as biomarkers of cerebrovascular burden were concurrently evaluated. Methods: Our study included 977 cognitively normal men who visited a health promotion centre and underwent medical check-ups, including 3.0 T magnetic resonance imaging. Participants were categorized into never smoker, past smoker or current smoker groups and pack-years and the years of smoking cessation were used as continuous variables. Results: The current smoker group exhibited cortical thinning in frontal and temporo-parietal regions compared with the never smoker group. These effects were particularly prominent in smokers with a high cumulative exposure to smoking in the current smoker group. However, there was no association between smoking and the severity of white matter hyperintensity or number of lacunes. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that smoking might impact on neurodegeneration rather than cerebrovascular burdens in cognitively normal men, suggesting that smoking might be an important modifiable risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology