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The Maurice Chevalier Syndrome

Why did you first start smoking?

(HealthDayNews) -- If you're a smoker and you're over retirement age, you've probably long forgotten the reason you started smoking.

It's not your age, it's your habit.

Elderly smokers may lose their ability to think, perceive and remember as quickly as their contemporaries who don't light up, four European studies found. The studies tested 9,000 people 65 and older over a two-year period for short-term memory, time and place orientation, attention and calculation skills. All participants showed some decline, but smokers had a significantly greater decline.

This may be tied to "silent" (very small, undetected) strokes, according the Erasmus University Medical School in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Smoking, which constricts blood vessels, is known to be a risk factor for strokes.

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