Nicotine stimulates systems in the brain that are important for thinking and memory. The nicotine patch is currently being used as an evidence-based therapy for smoking cessation, but researchers believe it could be used to treat other conditions, like memory loss, mental illness, and Parkinson’s disease.
MIND Study researchers are specifically studying the potential benefits of nicotine to test whether it can improve or alleviate symptoms of memory loss in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and possibly delay or prevent its progression to Alzheimer’s disease.
In an earlier study, 74 adults diagnosed with MCI were prescribed nicotine or placebo patches for six months. Those using the nicotine patch had improvement in attention and memory, and there were no serious side effects or signs of withdrawal.
Here are some other ways the medical research community is exploring the potential of nicotine: