Alcohol and tobacco consumption can result a variety of long- and short-term health issues. However, the most extreme risks lie in the potential for permanent neurological damage. In this entry we will discuss the toll of tobacco and alcohol on the human brain.
The chemicals found in tobacco products may cause white blood cells to attack healthy cells, resulting in the potential for disorders and neurological issues down the road.
State of Mind
Studies have found smoking to result in a decline in cognitive function 5x the rate of non-smokers. Diminished cognitive functions may eventually lead to mental deficiencies and dementia in later life.
Prolonged and excess alcohol intake may lead to brain damage. As an example, numerous alcoholics eventually develop Wernicke—Korsakoff syndrome, causing an array of debilitating symptoms, including memory issues, confusion, and paralysis of the nerves responsible for eye movement.
Alcohol’s effect on the brain can be seen after only a drink or two. With excessive intake over a long enough use period, drinkers will experience increased memory deficiency.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy places the fetus at risk for developmental issues both early and later in life. Of these issues, perhaps the most difficult to stomach is fetal alcohol syndrome; a condition where children are born with fewer brain cells and smaller brains.
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