In the largest study of the associations between smoking and cardiovascular disease on cognitive function, researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute found that both impair the ability to learn and memorize, and that the effects of smoking are more pronounced among females, while males are more impaired by cardiovascular disease, reports Medical Xpress. By analyzing data from more than 70,000 individuals worldwide, the study produced results that indicate definitive trends. “These results suggest that smoking and cardiovascular disease impact verbal learning and memory throughout adulthood, starting as early as age 18,” said Matt Huentelman, professor of neurogenomics and the study’s senior author. Besides Alzheimer’s disease, the most significant cause of cognitive decline is known as “vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia” or VCID, which arises from stroke and other vascular brain injuries that cause significant changes to memory, thinking and behaviour. Smoking and cardiovascular disease exacerbate VCID.