nicotine, that addictive chemical found in tobacco and
e-cigarettes, help your aging brain?
at Texas A&M found that, when given independently from
tobacco, the maligned chemical helps protect the aging brain
and may even hold off Parkinsonís disease and Alzheimerís
nicotineís protective abilities may have something to do
with its power to suppress appetite, according to Ursula
Winzer-Serhan, an associate professor at the Texas A&M
College of Medicine. The study was published in the Open
Access Journal of Toxicology.
information coincides with previous research that has shown
nicotineís possible cognitive benefits by binding and
activating certain receptors in the brain. These receptors, in
turn, have been found to reduce neurodegeneration.
their study, the Texas A&M researchers added nicotine to
the lab miceís drinking water. The mice were divided into
four groups: those who received no nicotine and those who
received low, medium and high concentrations of nicotine.
and medium-dosed mice showed no changes in food intake, body
weight or number of receptors in the brain where nicotine
acts. There was also no trace of nicotine in their blood.
the high-dosed group ate less, gained less weight and had more
receptors, leading the researchers to conclude that the drug
gets into the brain and impacts behavior at higher doses. Whatís
more, the high-dosed animals didnít have the suspected
behavioral side effects, such as anxiety.
last thing you would want in a drug that is given chronically
would be a negative change in behavior," Winzer-Serhan
said in a statement. "Luckily, we didnít find any
evidence of anxiety: Only two measures showed any effect even
with high levels of nicotine, and if anything, nicotine made
animal models less anxious."
more research needs to be done, primarily testing nicotineís
possible anti-aging qualities on actual aged animals. And
researchers say larger clinical trials need to be conducted as
want to make it very clear that weíre not encouraging people
to smoke," Winzer-Serhan said. "Even if these werenít
very preliminary results, smoking results in so many health
problems that any possible benefit of the nicotine would be
more than canceled out."