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Smoking impairs cognitive function in fibromyalgia patients

11 Mar 2019

Tobacco use in patients with fibromyalgia leads to cognitive dysfunction, in addition to worsening of fibromyalgia symptoms and quality of life (QoL) and aggravation of sleep problems and anxiety, a study has found.

A total of 668 fibromyalgia patients (mean age, 47.2 years; 90.71 percent female) participated in the study and completed the following questionnaires: Multiple Ability Self-Report Questionnaire (MASQ), Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ-R), 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20), Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale (MOS-Sleep), 7-item Generalized Anxiety Scale (GAD-7), 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire Depression Scale (PHQ-9).

Of the patients, 94 (14.07 percent) self-identified as smokers. Compared with nonsmokers, smokers were younger, had lower education level and more likely to be unmarried.

The primary outcome of cognitive function (MASQ score) was poorer in smokers than in nonsmokers. Specifically, fibromyalgia patients who were smokers reported greater perceived total cognitive dysfunction (p=0.009) and greater subscale scores of perceived difficulty in language (p=0.03), verbal memory (p=0.003), visual-spatial memory (p=0.02) and attention (p=0.04).

Results were similar for other outcomes, such that patients who smoked reported greater severity of fibromyalgia-related symptoms (p=0.006), worse QoL index in the mental component scale (p=0.02), greater sleep problems (p=0.01) and increased anxiety (p=0.001) compared with patients who were nonsmokers.

According to researchers, clinicians who manage fibromyalgia patients should be aware of the association between smoking and cognition, even though the cause-effect relationship between the two is unclear. More studies are warranted to evaluate causality and investigate the effects of nicotine-containing agents, as well as antismoking medications, on cognition.

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Pearl Toh, 6 days ago
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