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Nicotine Patch Improves Brain Power
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 12:14 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

(Source: - A nicotine patch boosted brain power in patients experiencing mild memory and attention problems - a finding that could hold promise for Alzheimer's research.

The study examined men and women with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that does not interfere with daily living but often progresses to dementia. The group that got the nicotine did better on cognition tests, although they and their doctors may not have noticed much improvement. The researchers at Vanderbilt University found few side effects from the patch, according to the study.

Study author Paul Newhouse said more research is needed to see if nicotine would be an effective treatment for people with early memory loss. "We do not know whether benefits persist over long periods of time and provide meaningful improvement," he said.

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Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:23 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740

Read the full article very carefully ... e.g.:


Even for those with cognitive impairment, Newhouse didn't endorse trying nicotine until there's more evidence. 


Starting to smoke would be a bad idea given its harmful effects, but the patches require some caution as well. 


Although the patches appeared safe in the study, dosing takes a light touch as too much nicotine could actually worsen cognitive performance, Newhouse pointed out. 


Whether nicotine would fight mild cognitive impairment as well for current smokers or former heavy smokers wasn't clear from the small study, his group added in the paper. 


Further study is warranted to address that issue and to determine durability of the cognitive effect and whether it could alter progressive deterioration, they suggested. 


 People have been studying the effects of nicotine on cognitive function for well over 20 years.  Among the biggest problems with trying to use it are (a) the response is an inverted U-shaped response (rather than the usual linear response), and (b) the optimum dose for a given person is highly individual. 


Most research nowadays is on "analogs" of nicotine that, hopefully, will be more uniformly beneficial.


I'm quite surprised to see someone working with nicotine itself these days.


Some additional reading for those who are interested: