A recent study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center conducted by Dr. Paul Newhouse and colleagues suggests that Nicotine patches may be very beneficial in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is frequently regarded as a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease and is primarily of the type that demonstrates reduction in memory while most other functions remain intact. However, with time, MCI frequently progresses to Alzheimer’s disease and there are no known treatments that can obviate the eventual decline of one to the other. However, this recent study, using Nicotine patches for six months, has shown that individuals under the influence of Nicotine showed a 46% improvement in their “long-term memory” for their age while the placebo ground showed a 26% decline. Researchers at the Roskamp Institute have been examining an analogous compound, Anatabine. Anatabine is also a tobacco leaf-derived product, but, has no known carcinogen effects, nor does it seem to have any addictive potential according to studies at Harvard University. Anatabine has been shown by scientists at the Roskamp Institute to be beneficial in mitigating against memory decline in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, studies with Anatabine show that amyloid protein, the causative agent in Alzheimer’s disease, is reduced in animal models of the disease and that this reduction parallels the improvement in memory seen with treatment with Anatabine. Anatabine has several potential advantages over the use of Nicotine for the treatment of memory. For instance, as mentioned above, Anatabine is not addictive and it has a longer half life in the blood, necessitating less frequent administration. Drs. Michael Mullan and Daniel Paris have published their findings in the European Journal of Pharmacology regarding the use of Anatabine in the animal models of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Roskamp Institute is a stand-alone, not-for-profit research facility located in Sarasota, Florida headed by Drs. Mike Mullan and Fiona Crawford.