Nicotine Patch May Help Memory Impairment

Marc Gordon, MD

Nicotine patches may ease mild cognitive impairment, according to a new study in the journal Neurology. Study participants showed improved attention plus improvements in secondary measures of attention, memory and thought-processing speed. But the research did not demonstrate a significant difference between nicotine and placebo on overall improvement.

The study was conducted with 74 non-smokers with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, who were randomly assigned to receive either nicotine patches or placebo patches for six months. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment is characterized by measurable impairment in memory without obvious functional disability. It may represent an intermediate stage between normal aging and mild Alzheimer's dementia. Alzheimer’s is associated with a deficiency of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which sends signals between nerve cells by binding to specific receptors. Nicotine has the ability to bind to and activate some of these receptors.

The nicotine-treated group experienced weight loss, more adverse events and more discontinuations due to adverse events, but there were no severe adverse events, and overall, the nicotine patch appeared to be safe and relatively well-tolerated by the participants.

While these results are encouraging and justify further research into the potential therapeutic use of nicotine in mild cognitive impairment, it is important to bear in mind that this is a small, preliminary study. Full Post - to Detail View

Screening Teens for Drugs, Alcohol

Bruce Goldman, LCSW

All adolescents should be screened for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs every time they visit the doctor, according to a new recommendation in the journal published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

This is an excellent and timely recommendation. It is no secret that adolescents experiment with alcohol and drugs. In fact 41.2 percent of high school seniors report past month use of alcohol with 22.3 percent reporting binge drinking in the prior month (more than 5 drinks in a row). Marijuana use among high school seniors is now more prevalent than tobacco use (21.4 percent vs. 19.2 percent). Additionally, we cannot read a newspaper or listen to a news report without hearing about the Full Post - to Detail View

The High Cost of Smoking

Pat Folan, RN

The New York State Department of Health has launched an anti-smoking TV campaign that illustrates the hefty price New York’s smokers pay for their addiction.

Smoking takes away the ability to pursue the athletic activities and costs an exorbitant amount of money -- both for cigarettes and ensuing healthcare needs. And it’s a product that will most likely cost your life. 

Although cigarette smoking alone increases your risk of coronary heart disease, it greatly increases risk to your entire cardiovascular system. Almost immediately after quitting smoking, the lungs and other smoke-damaged organs start to repair themselves.

Quitting tobacco is the number one thing a smoker can do for his or her health.

Quitting is hard, but with help from North Shore-LIJ’s Center for Tobacco Control and your doctor, you can succeed. For free help, call 516-466-1980.

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