US trials – Nicotine beneficial to Alzheimers and Parkinsons
Clinical studies in the US found that nicotine may improve the cognitive performance of those with early memory problems. It is known to stimulate nerve cells in the brain and the trial found that those receiving nicotine against those on the placebo performed better on specific long term memory tests and attention.
Nicotine is similar to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that declines in Alzheimer's disease. It may also protect against Parkinson's disease which is caused by the loss of nerve cells in the brain.
Nicotine is in itself reported to be non addictive and with virtually no side effects. It is the other substances in cigarettes that get people hooked and contribute to health problems by damaging the lungs and blood vessels.
There are currently an estimated 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia and it's hoped that these trials may help towards developing safe treatment to help people with this condition.