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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 697825, 8 pages
Review Article

COgnitive-Pulmonary Disease

1Program Development Centre, CIRO+, Centre of Expertise for Chronic Organ Failure, Hornerheide 1, 6085NM Horn, The Netherlands
2Centre of Expertise for Palliative Care, Maastricht UMC+, P Debyelaan 25, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
3Department of Psychology, Maastricht UMC+/School for Mental Health and Neurosciences (MHeNS), Dr. Translaan 12, 6202AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
4Department of Respiratory Medicine, Maastricht UMC+, P Debyelaan 25, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Received 16 September 2013; Accepted 20 January 2014; Published 16 March 2014

Academic Editor: Mitja Lainscak

Copyright © 2014 Fiona A. H. M. Cleutjens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Over the past few decades, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) has been considered a disease of the lungs, often caused by smoking. Nowadays, COPD is regarded as a systemic disease. Both physical effects and effects on brains, including impaired psychological and cognitive functioning, have been demonstrated. Patients with COPD may have cognitive impairment, either globally or in single cognitive domains, such as information processing, attention and concentration, memory, executive functioning, and self-control. Possible causes are hypoxemia, hypercapnia, exacerbations, and decreased physical activity. Cognitive impairment in these patients may be related to structural brain abnormalities, such as gray-matter pathologic changes and the loss of white matter integrity which can be induced by smoking. Cognitive impairment can have a negative impact on health and daily life and may be associated with widespread consequences for disease management programs. It is important to assess cognitive functioning in patients with COPD in order to optimize patient-oriented treatment and to reduce personal discomfort, hospital admissions, and mortality. This paper will summarize the current knowledge about cognitive impairment as extrapulmonary feature of COPD. Hereby, the impact of smoking on cognitive functioning and the impact of cognitive impairment on smoking behaviour will be examined.