Advantage of Nicotine

Posted on February 9, 2017

Photo: flickr

We are all aware of the disadvantages nicotine bring to us and how tobacco use can lead to disability, disease, and even death. However, a new research reveals how nicotine may have some benefits for patients dealing with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia affects more than 21 million people globally and it is considered a severe and disabling mental condition. A formal research has shown association in the decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) with schizophrenia and as this area is responsible for the executive functions of the brain which involves, decision-making, staying in control, dealing with short-term and long-term memory and also problem-solving.

The link between smoking, schizophrenia, and genetics

Causes of “Hypofrontality” was investigated – a decreased neuronal activation of the PFC when the tsk requires it, is thought to cause many of the cognitive problems associated with schizophrenia which includes difficulty making decision, focusing, or remembering things.

Former researches found a link between schizophrenia, the CHRNA5 gene, and smoking. Close to 90% of people with schizophrenia smoke, most of them being heavy smokers, and 60 to 70% of people with bipolar disorder also smoke.

Nicotine was found to correct Hypofrontality

An experiment was done out that examined mice with CHRNA5 gene and at the same time, displayed neurocognitive behavioural impairment in social interaction and sensorimotor tasks. Hypofrontality issue was also found, similarly in the decreased of neural activity with schizophrenia patients and addiction.

Nicotine was administered to these mice, which reversed the hypofrontality, the cognitive impairment.

With this discovery, authors still hope that these findings will lead to non-addictive, nicotine-based therapies for patients with schizophrenia.


Source material from Medical News Today

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