help boost memory and concentration, say scientists. The discovery
offers hope of a nicotine pill that mimics these effects to treat
developing drugs that copy the active ingredients in tobacco that
stimulate the brain without causing heart disease, cancer, stroke
The move follows
the discovery that nicotine can boost the intelligence and recall
ability of animals in laboratory experiments.
who present their latest findings at a brain conference today, hope
that the new drugs, which will be available in five years, could
have fewer side effects than existing medicines for dementia.
But they stress
the new treatment would not be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. At
best it will only give patients a few extra months of independent
long been known to have a stimulating effect on the brain. Victorian
doctors recommended smoking as a means of sharpening the wits and
deadly side effects of cancer, stroke and heart disease, mean its
benefits have been neglected by medical research.
Stoleman, from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London,
has shown that nicotine can improve the performance of rats in an
intelligence and memory test.
that we call drugs have, in the majority of cases, do have a mixture
of beneficial and harmful effects and nicotine no exception to this,"
we started this work 10 years ago we didn’t think that we would
find beneficial effects on cognitive performance on normal subjects.
were able to find an effect in the sense of the acute administration
of nicotine producing small improvements in performance of tasks
in normal rats."