The Effects Of Abstinence From Smoking Tobacco On The Cognitive/Episodic Memory

The impressionable mind of a young adult is more susceptible to substance abuse than that of a fully developed adult human. Surveys reportedly show that half of all U. S. 12th graders grow to become regular smokers and roughly 1 in every 7 people are daily smokers (Jacobsen, Mencl, Constable, Westerveld, Pugh, 2007). Majority of young adults who smoke frequently and plan to quit displays signs of withdrawal (Jacobsen, Mencl, Constable, Westerveld, Pugh, 2007). Young adults whom regular smokers and will decide to stop will show signs of disruption of the working memory. However, continuing to smoke will reverse the related effects of withdrawal allowing for the body to go back to its previous normal state(Jacobsen, Mencl, Constable, Westerveld, Pugh, 2007).

The body's response to the decrease of nicotine might be a cause of the individual's lack of accuracy on the performance of the task(Hirshman, Merritt, Rhodes, & Zinser, 2004). Participants in this study (frequent smokers vs. yearly smokers) will take a memory interference test (MIT), which shows the mind's ability to be able to focus and concentrate during this test. Frequent smokers vs. yearly smokers will be in a controlled setting to potentially provide results that abstinence from tobacco affects the individual's concentrations. The symptoms from trying to quit smoking will be difficult since it is possible that the body got used to the excess amounts of nicotine needed to help young adults perform their tasks well. A memory test was best used to analyze young adults because of the brain's hippocampus ability to interfere the performance of a concentrated/remembrance task (Hirshman, Merritt, Rhodes, & Zinser, 2004). Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) can reduce the amount of acetylcholine in the hippocampus based off of abstinence from tobacco, which is known to cause a lack in their performance during their test (Hirshman, Merritt, Rhodes, & Zinser, 2004). This shows plausible cause that there is some type of effect happening in the brain during an episodic memory task.

The reason behind this study is to regard the possibility that smoking tobacco alters the minds cognitive state, then a person who smokes yearly (defined as an individual who smokes once or twice a year). However, abstinence in smoking tobacco might show no significant difference in the working memory during the 24 hour period between daily smokers and yearly smokers. Method and Materials: One-hundred and forty-five young adults daily smokers were compared to seventy-two yearly smokers. The individuals who participated were volunteers. However, subjects had to be free of any type of mental or physical illness and drug abuse other than nicotine abuse. Smokers vs. yearly smoker were not determined by age, years, alcohol intake, pregnant, gender, handedness. Subjects were required to stay away from all drug use 2 weeks before the MIT. All subject was required to take the MIT twice in their regular state and during the abstinence state from tobacco. The MIT has three different sets and were based on the number the individuals got correct.

During the test, there will be a series of pictures that the subjects will need to remember in order to guess the correct amount in each set. First, they were tested in a room during the first 24 hours and were asked not to abstain from smoking because we wanted them in their natural state. Once the first 24 hours were done, the next set of 24 hours subjects were required to abstain from any type of smoking during that period to ensure the possibility of any sign of short-term memory, lack of concentration or recognition. Nearing the end of the 24 hours of abstinence, both groups (frequent smokers vs. yearly smokers) subject were required to retake the MIT. These test will be analyzed and compared to potentially tell us if abstinence affects the episodic and cognitive memory.

29 April 2020
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