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Research: Nicotine can help in the reduction of Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, and is a terminal and degenerative disease, most often found in people who are over 65 years old, with more than 25 million suffering this disease worldwide. The disease causes several symptoms such as irritability and aggression, memory loss, mood swings, and the senses continually decline. A person does not typically survive for more than 7 years after being diagnosed with the disease. As a result of the huge number of people afflicted with the disease, research into causes and possible cures is a high priority, and there is no cure that can reverse the disease or even slow it down.
One of the research areas for the disease is the use of nicotine to reduce some of the side effects of the disease through manipulating the receptors of the brain (link to article):

Scientists believe that an over-production of a peptide called A-beta in the brain is the cause of Alzheimer’s and are developing drug treatments that prevent the action of the enzyme BACE1, which produces A-beta. “The mice exhibit signs of schizophrenia and memory loss when you block the enzyme. BACE1 is a very promising drug target, but you have to overcome these obviously debilitating side effects to effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease,” Lee said.
“By stimulating the Alpha7 receptor with nicotine, we were able to recover normal brain function. We are very hopeful that this will be a way to overcome the deficits seen with the BACE-1 knockouts,” she added. Calcium triggers the release of neurotransmitters, the chemicals, which transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. The research team found that nicotine activated the uptake of calcium, and thus the neurotransmitter release mechanism.

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