Over 8 million American adults are currently diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). This condition which affects memory, attention or other thinking skills is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, and is normally diagnosed when memory problems start occurring at an earlier stage than would expected in an aging individual.
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Previous studies, have indicated that Nicotine can prevent brain shrinkage, and also protect from the onslaught of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. Nicotine affects the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and its receptor. “Acetylcholine is a very important neurotransmitter in the body and brain that aids memory and attention. In Alzheimer’s disease patients, acetylcholine in the brain is dramatically reduced because neurons releasing it are damaged or dead,” explains the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), is one of 29 sites across the US participating in the national study, the Memory Improvement Through Nicotine Dosing (MIND), which aims to determine whether the use of a nicotine patch can alleviate symptoms of MCI. Participants taking part in this study will attend one of the 29 centers for 12 times over a two-year period.
Nicotine : a plant derived compound with several useful properties
Paul Newhouse, M.D., director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at VUMC and national director of the study, said that results from previous studies have had encouraging outcomes. “I am convinced that we will find a way to help improve early memory loss and make a real difference in people’s lives. In this study, we have an inexpensive, widely available potential treatment,” he added.
Newhouse pointed out that Nicotine, is a natural plant alkaloid, with a lot of interesting and useful properties, “People think of it as a potentially noxious substance, but it’s a plant-derived medication just like a lot of other medications,” he said.
An opportunity to be part of this study
The MIND study is seeking to recruit 300 healthy, non-smoking adults, aged 55 or above to participate in this research. Interested applicants must either be diagnosed with MCI or show signs of early memory loss, including deficiencies in memory, language thinking and judgment, that are greater than expected for their age.
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