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Texas A&M researchers suggest nicotine could help the aging brain

Source:KXXV Source:KXXV
BRYAN, TX (KXXV) -

Texas A&M researchers have released a study that examines how nicotine could have a positive health effect for older people.

The study showed that nicotine without the other chemicals found in cigarettes could possibly bring positive effects to the aging brain.

Texas A&M Health Science Center Professor Dr. Ursula Winzer-Serhan said it’s possible that the purest form of nicotine actually has beneficial effects to humans.

Dr. Winzer-Serhan said her research shows that older adults who are at risk of Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease could slow down the onset of those disorders by taking pure nicotine in small doses.

“If we could delay aging of the brain normal aging of the brain by 5 or 6 years or something, that would benefit the individual and it would also benefit society,” Dr. Winzer-Serhan said.

She said right now there is no drug on the market that could delay the cognitive effects of aging of the brain, which is why they've conducted research for multiple years. Researchers found nicotine has other beneficial effects on the human body besides helping people stop smoking.

During the research, they gave low doses of nicotine to test animals over a long period of time and it showed to improve cognitive function, reduced body weight gain and increased metabolism. The test animals suffered no negative side effects.

"The study points us in the right direction, that does not mean that people should go out and purchase cigarettes and start smoking," Dr. Winzer-Serhan said.

She warned smoking is not the same thing. There are so many harmful chemicals in cigarettes that could have the opposite effect by causing cancer.

"That’s the last thing that I want people to get and take away from the study, because smoking is not anti-aging by no means, it has if anything the opposite effects," Dr. Winzer-Serhan said.

Dr. Winzer-Serhan said there is still a lot of research to be done before tests can officially be performed on humans, but if they're successful in the future research it could change the process of the aging brain forever.

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