Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, found that breathing in secondhand smoke could raise a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. To take preventative measures and delay Alzheimer’s care, researchers recommend avoiding secondhand smoke.
Scientists followed a team of more than 3,600 participants enrolled in study of cardiovascular health. A total of 985 never-smokers with no cardiovascular disease and no dementia were compared to 495 people who reported an average of 28 years of lifetime exposure to another person’s smoking. A six-year evaluation revealed that elderly people exposed to secondhand smoke for 30 years or more were 30 percent more likely to develop dementia than those without the exposure.
“This study attempts to look at the relationship between cardiovascular disease and dementia and also looks at the independent, direct effects of tobacco on the nervous system,” Thaddeus Haight, lead researcher in the study, told ABC. “There is an alternative pathway other than cardiovascular disease with potential neurotoxic effects. Secondhand smoke could affect the neurodegenerative process behind dementia and may lower the threshold for dementia-like symptoms.”
The Berkeley Wellness Center reported that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause a stroke or heart attack, so avoiding cigarettes altogether is the healthiest option.