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Think also about the brain when making good resolutions

The same triad of fire­works, alcohol (usually inclu­ding a hangover) and good inten­tions appears every year on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The good inten­tions tend to be straight­for­ward: You can simply pull out last year’s list, because usually the good inten­tions didn’t really work out after all. If your list included or includes quit­ting smoking, there is now another argu­ment that could encou­rage you in your endea­vours. Accor­ding to a new study from December 2023, smoking is not only harmful to your lungs and blood vessels, makes you look older more quickly and increases your risk of various types of cancer — smoking also causes your brain to shrink. At least this is the result of the study of over 30,000 smokers and non-smokers. Although the diffe­rences are in the per mille range, they are nevert­heless an unmist­akable indi­ca­tion of the harmful effects of smoking on the brain. And while your lungs, for example, recover when you give up ciga­rettes, your brain remains what it is — smaller than it should be. And the logical conclu­sion is: with a smaller brain, cogni­tive perfor­mance decreases and with it the likeli­hood that future good inten­tions will be fulfilled. With this in mind: here’s to a healthy, smoke-free New Year 2024! You can find the original study here: Chang Y, Thornton V, Chaloem­toem A, Anokhin AP, Bijs­ter­bosch J, Bogdan R, Hancock DB, Johnson EO, Bierut LJ. Inves­ti­ga­ting the rela­ti­onship between smoking beha­vior and global brain volume. Biolo­gical Psych­iatry Global Open Science. Dec. 11, 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsgos.2023.09.006