Researchers who studied mental function in women concluded that those with a past history of smoking may suffer cognitive impairment, whereas those who drank too much in the past did not seem to suffer long-term mental problems, All Headline News reported March 16.
Nicotine's effect on estrogen levels may be the causes, experts said.
Women ages 31-60 who previously smoked 20 or more cigarettes per day fared more poorly on reasoning, planning and organizing tests than those who never smoked, while former heavy drinkers scored about the same as non-smokers and those who never drank. All of the scores landed within the normal range, however.
The University of Iowa study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.