A Vanderbilt University Medical Center pilot study of treating late-life depression in nonsmokers with transdermal nicotine (nicotine patch) has yielded some promising results, but the study’s author cautions that more study is needed. Late-life depression — depression that occurs in adults 60 years or older — is characterized by poor response to antidepressant medications and often memory issues. About half of those treated for late-life depression fail to respond to initial treatments.
VUMC has received a $9.4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to test the effectiveness of a transdermal nicotine patch in improving memory loss in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Paul Newhouse, M.D., professor of Psychiatry and director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at VUMC, is the co-principal investigator of the study that is being launched in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Treatment Research Institute at the University of Southern California, Indiana University and the University of Vermont.