Research shows that nicotine replacement therapies can dramatically slow the symptoms that come with age-related cognitive impairment
One of the scariest conditions imaginable is dementia related to diseases like Alzheimer’s. Watching a loved one literally forget who you, and they are is truly a tragedy for everyone involved. It’s estimated that nearly six million American families are currently suffering with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s. Luckily, there are a few ways to see if you’re at a higher risk for developing dementia, for instance, if you’re diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, research indicates you have nearly an 80% chance of developing Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association concluded that around 20% of people over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with one, if not both of these conditions.
The memory loss associated with dementia or even MCI is much worse than your ordinary forgetfulness. Patients dealing with Alzheimer’s ultimately even forget how to eat and breath. Given the immense tragedy with these cases, there has been plenty of research into what affects the development of dementia. While we’re still very far from being able to seriously mitigate the yearly cases, we have had a few breakthroughs in regards to prevention. For instance, a study published all the way back in 1990 concluded that nicotine replacement therapies could significantly slow the onset of both MCI and full-blown dementia.
The study was led by the famous researcher, Dr. Paul Newhouse, who still works at Vanderbilt University, nearly 30 years after this study was first published. He’s actually worked on several papers exploring the potential of nicotine as a treatment for dementia and cognitive impairment. But with his 1990 article, he laid out the strongest evidence for nicotine. While that paper focused on intravenous supplements, the research really got the ball rolling on nicotine patches as a form of smoking cessation tool. But he has continued this research into more recent years.
A more recent trial conducted a few years ago shed more light on how effective nicotine can be at sustaining memory. Likely the most critical finding was that participants who were using the actual nicotine patch instead of the placebo had an increase in long-term memory function by around 46%. This project was such a success that Dr. Newhouse and his team have already secured funding for a more in-depth trial of over 300 participants. This paper is still being researched, but when it’s all said and done, it’ll compare more than two years worth of data on patients age 55 and older.
The Risks Of Vaping?
While much of Dr. Newhouse’s research has been published before the growth of vaping, many now feel that e-cigarettes offer the most effective and simple method of delivery for the nicotine. Other studies have found results that could be very promising for Dr. Newhouse’s work. For one, vaping has been proven by Public Health England along with many other studies, to deliver nicotine with only 5% of the risk associated with cigarettes. Vaping has also been shown to be a quicker and more effective way to provide dosages. This would mean that patients could ingest nicotine in smaller doses, while still yielding positive results.
Other studies have stacked the effectiveness of vaporizers against other nicotine replacement therapies. A study out of the University of Louisville found, that regarding smoking cessation, vaporizers were more effective than nicotine patches, gums, and even prescription pills. A large part of that effectiveness came from the ease that users experienced with the product. This kind of comfort and usability would also be useful for those using the nicotine dosage for memory purposes.
Even though many of Dr. Newhouse’s studies are a bit dated, they still provide invaluable information regarding the benefits of vaping. Alzheimer’s and Dementia are genuinely some of the worst things you can have to deal with, so anything that could potentially reduce the suffering is desperately needed. We must conduct more research into the effects of nicotine vaping on the onset of both MCI and Alzheimer’s. We already know that vaping is one of the best smoking cessation and harm reduction tools we have at our disposal, but it’s time we start to explore the other benefits it offers as well. That will not only improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from these conditions, but it’ll also likely improve the public perception of vaping as more people significantly start to benefit from them.
Are you surprised that nicotine could slow the onset of Alzheimer’s? Do you think research like this will help improve the public perception of vaping? How can we spread positive information about the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.