Nicotine patches being used by researchers to stimulate memory in older adults

Posted at 4:32 AM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 08:20:08-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nicotine can be very addictive and is typically associated with cigarettes.

A group of researchers is trying to change the drug's reputation by using it to help with memory loss, in the form of nicotine patches.

Vanderbilt University, USC and the National Institutes of Health are conducting the study which involves giving nicotine patches to older adults to stimulate their memory.

They believe the nicotine interacts with parts of the brain connected to memory loss and attention. They're hopeful the patches will "improve" brain functions.

"We believe that memory should actually be maintained pretty normally through most of the aging process and that if your memory is dipping, that's something that we should be concerned about," Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine Dr. Paul Newhouse explained.

This treatment is not addictive or cancer-causing, according to researchers.

Research from Vanderbilt shows more than 8 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment.

The condition affects memory or other thinking skills. People with the condition are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.

They're still looking for more people to sign up to be a part of the research. You can sign up for the study and learn more about it, here.