The study involved 74 people with an average age of 76 who had mild cognitive impairment and were not smokers. Half of the participants received a nicotine patch for six months and half received a placebo. The participants took several tests of memory and thinking skills at the start of the study and again after three and six months.
After six months of treatment, the nicotine-treated group regained 46 percent of normal performance for age on long-term memory, whereas the placebo group worsened by 26 percent.
Study authors cautioned against unsupervised use of the substance.
“People with mild memory loss should not start smoking or using nicotine patches by themselves, because there are harmful effects of smoking and a medication such as nicotine should only be used with a doctor's supervision,” said study author Paul Newhouse, MD, of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Really he said that! Kind of interesting statement.
The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Pfizer Inc., provided the transdermal nicotine patches.
Good information but don't be rushing to your doctor just yet.