Show: January 22, 2012:
Did You Know?: Nicotine Improves Memory in the Elderly
Nicotine patches are a good way to quit smoking. But did you know they may also help improve memory loss in older adults?
According to a recent study, people with memory problems on the spectrum between normal aging and dementia -- known as mild cognitive impairment -- benefit from small, regular doses of nicotine.
Of 74 older adults with mild memory loss tested, those treated with nicotine showed significant improvement in memory and processing speed compared to those not given nicotine.
Nicotine stimulates brain receptors linked to thinking and memory, which may explain why the drug improved memory and processing speed. The study of course does not suggest that older adults should start smoking. And there’s no evidence that nicotine improves memory and thinking in people without memory loss.
But the researchers hope that further studies could show how nicotine could be used to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
And now you know.
Did you Know is presented by Wishard Health Services, becoming Eskenazi Health in 2014.