For years now, everybody with the media on the forefront has been fighting a war against cigarettes. However, with results of a new scientific research, things might just turn around. For the many decades we have launched a war on nicotine and cigarettes based on total misconception.
According to research, nicotine is totally safe when it is separated from tobacco. The main culprit in cigarettes is the tobacco and not actually nicotine. Science has also proven that there are so many deaths caused by cigarette related diseases. However, the truth of the matter is that these diseases have in fact been caused by tobacco. Nicotine is not harmful when separated from tobacco and in fact researchers have discovered some amazing medical benefits gained from the use of nicotine.
Patients who suffer from cognitive impairments can significantly benefit from the use of nicotine therapy. Cognitive impairments are movement related impairments and though not very common it may most likely affect the elderly or any persons who has been severely affected by another kind of disease.
Even before the discovery of the good benefits of nicotine therapy on cognitive impaired patients, research started when scientists realised that many smokers were less likely to be victims of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is closely associated with cardiovascular disease as many people with cardiovascular disease are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. With the knowledge that smoking causes cardiovascular disease it’s actually counterintuitive to imagine that smoking can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However more research revealed that it is the nicotine in the cigarette that helps smokers become less prone to Alzheimer’s disease. Thus nicotine without tobacco is not much of danger to your body as you might have imagined.
In order to further prove this theory, scientists decided to use nicotine patches on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The results were amazing. Patients who used nicotine patches registered improved cognitive functions. Furthermore, when nicotine patches were used on elderly patients who had no Alzheimer’s disease but showed memory loss symptoms due to advanced age the results were that their responses and memory were significantly improved. This prompted for even more studies which also led to another discovery. Nicotine can also offer protection to Parkinson’s disease which is a rare but fatal disease where the brain cells begin to die making victims to become mental impaired and get tremors which cannot be controlled.
These findings have contradicted very sharply to the many evils of nicotine that the media as well as even doctors have been talking about for very many decades. Dr. Paul Newhouse who is the director of Vanderbilt University Center for Cognitive medicine sought to clarify this point. He says that the actual evil is tobacco and not nicotine. It is true that people would not smoke cigarettes without nicotine but they cannot also take nicotine on itself. Nicotine is not very addictive when taken alone and that is even the reason as to why FDA allowed nicotine to be sold over the counter. Nicotine is not very pleasant by itself and you wouldn’t find anyone administering it like cocaine or Heroin.
In to understand how exactly nicotine helped boost the cognitive abilities of patients, Dr. Newhouse undertook further studies. These studies showed that nicotine has properties which are very similar to acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain which helps with cognitive functions. For patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the acetylcholine normally declines and that explains why they have problems with movements. In order to treat this condition, doctors used to administer patients with Aricept in order to boost the acetylcholine levels in the brain. However, with the new discovery on nicotine this would be a better option as patients would get the benefits of improved acetylcholine levels in the brain without any side effects.
Dr. Newhouse’s further study shows that though nicotine has brain-boosting effects on patients with cognitive impairments, it is not the same case with healthy people. Nicotine does not enhance the cognitive abilities of healthy people but for those affected by cognitive impairments, they benefit a lot.
The discovery on nicotine is good news to many patients and there are many more studies being carried out in order to determine whether nicotine can also be used to help treat other disease without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Focus is specifically on whether nicotine can be used to help chemotherapy patients who normally suffer from “mental fog” after the treatment. Another area where there is focus is on the treatment of Down syndrome. Normally Down syndrome is closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It is thought that the nicotine treatment can also help treat the effects of Down’s syndrome. Patients suffering from HIV and who show a decline in mental function rapidly could also benefit from nicotine therapy.
Dr. Newhouse and other scientists feel that nicotine would be a good alternative to many conventional drugs as patients would get treatment without having to endure the gruelling side effects. This seems a very safe option only when taken alone and not with tobacco. More research shows that nicotine also reduces blood pressure by a significant amount and there are no problems with addiction. Actually there has been no reported case of anyone starting smoking because of the use of nicotine. It would be interesting and a major breakthrough in the industry to know that the continued use of nicotine like in electronic cigarettes would help reduce many cases of Parkinson’s disease, age-related memory loss as well as Alzheimer’s diseases.