Nicotine To Help Treat Memory Loss?

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is testing whether the nicotine patch can improve memory and functioning in people who have mild memory loss or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). The MIND Study – or Memory Improvement Through Nicotine Dosing – is the largest and longest-running study of its kind.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in five people age 65 or older have mild memory loss or MCI and are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Currently, there is no FDA approved medication indicated to treat this condition; however, nicotine stimulates an area in the brain known to be important for thinking and memory, and scientists believe it could be an effective treatment for adults with MCI.

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Paul Newhouse, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine

“People often think nicotine is addictive and harmful because it is in tobacco products, but it’s safe when used in patch form,” said Paul Newhouse, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine and lead investigator for the MIND Study. “Nicotine is an inexpensive, readily available treatment that could have significant benefits for people experiencing mild memory impairment.”

The MIND Study needs 300 people to enroll in sites across the United States. Researchers are looking for healthy, non-smoking adults over the age of 55 who are in the earliest stages of memory loss to participate in the MIND Study.

“Nicotine is an inexpensive, readily available treatment that could have significant benefits for people experiencing mild memory impairment.”

“The MIND Study will provide valuable information for researchers with regard to early memory loss associated with normal aging and early Alzheimer’s disease, but we need volunteers if we are going to succeed,” said Dr. Newhouse.

You or a loved one may be eligible to participate if you have been diagnosed with MCI or if you or your family members notice changes in your memory:

  • Are you having difficulty remembering recent events? Have you noticed changes in your memory or your loved one’s memory?
  • Is your memory as good as it was two years ago? If you asked someone close to you about your memory, what would they say?

If you are interested in participating, visit www.MINDStudy.org  

or call 1-866-MIND-150.

 

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