National Institute on Aging awards $9.4 million grant for nicotine research

A dementia advocacy group has recently awarded a $9.4 million research grant to conduct a double-blind clinical trial involving nicotine’s potential effects on cognitive memory.  When the planning and evaluation stages are taken into consideration, the entire project funded by The National Institute on Aging (NIH) will likely last over two-years.

The study will involve a minimum of 300 volunteer participants, each diagnosed with a condition called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which is often a precursor to early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Current research indicates that nicotine therapies may show promise in slowing the progression of MCI and, in some cases, might even reverse some of the prior damage.    

It’s not the nicotine that kills smokers

Vaping enthusiasts have known for decades that the nicotine in combustible tobacco products is not what kills smokers.  What leads to death and disease is the thousands of carcinogenic toxins and chemicals intentionally placed inside these Big Tobacco products designed to keep the smoker hooked.  The medical community is also very aware of this incredible distinction, and they are finally beginning to conduct reputable research which may potentially unlock the hidden health benefits of nicotine. 

Related Article: Vaping study: FDA should regulate chemicals not nicotine in cigarettes

The new clinical trail will be led by Dr. Paul Newhouse of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  Newhouse was likely selected as the winning candidate for the multi-million dollar grant due to his prior research involving nicotine and cognitive memory published in 2012.  The former research entitled Nicotine treatment of mild cognitive impairment: a 6-month double-blind pilot clinical trial is published via the National Library of Medicine and involved a smaller control group of only 74 cognitively impaired patients.

The new NIH trial will consist of a control group at least four-times greater and will last about four-times longer.  The primary focus will be on the possible benefits of transdermal nicotine therapies like “the patch,” but future studies may involve the therapeutic potential of vaped nicotine.  The details of the clinical trial are still being determined, but Newhouse’s 2012 study involved the participants wearing transdermal nicotine patches for up to 16-hours per day.

Some patients were wearing placebos while others were wearing the real thing.  No one knew who was wearing which type of patch, not even the attending scientists.  Since the National Institute on Aging trial is also classified as a double-blind study, it will likely follow similar parameters.  Further updates will be forthcoming as the clinic trial evolves. 

Related Article:  The science of vaping: Study shows nicotine may have anti-aging effects on the brain

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