Friday, September 20, 2013

Nicotine Like A Natural chemical In Parkinson'S Disease

There is evidence that nicotine might be beneficial to those suffering from Parkinson's disease. While no health professional will recommend smoking a cigarette as a method of controlling Parkinson's symptoms, nicotine's effect on neurotransmitters does call for further study.

Nicotine's Benefits

According to Ed Levin, chief of the neuro-behavioural research lab at Duke University Medical Center, nicotine has an effect on the brain that might be beneficial rather than detrimental to people with Parkinson's disease. Levin notes that research has shown that nicotine enhances cognitive thinking skills and could possibly benefit patients with other diseases, including schizophrenia and other brain disorders. Levin concluded that a toxin is responsible for the neural damage that Parkinson's patients sustain and that nicotine can protect against that toxin and its damage.

Neurotransmitter Qualities

Nicotine is rapidly distributed through the bloodstream and is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier in seconds. This is the aspect of nicotine that could prove most beneficial for Parkinson's patients because nicotine mimics a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter binds with the nicotinic receptor, which determines the release of other neurotransmitters that have a bearing on cognition and emotion. It has already been established that nicotine improves cognitive performance because it stimulates the hippocampus, which is crucial in regard to memory and learning.

Nicotine's Effect on the Brain

A study performed in October 2002 by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Institute of Psychiatry in London revealed that nicotine prompts us to focus our attention by swapping resources from one part of the brain, the less used part, to areas of the brain that are required for performance of a certain task. This study also showed that nicotine might very well be effective in treating other brain disorders.

Smokers Have Lower Rates of Parkinson's

Interestingly, smokers have lower rates of Parkinson's disease, according to Paul Newhouse of the clinical neuroscience research unit at the University of Vermont. Newhouse has conducted experiments using nicotine patches to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's.

Other Benefits

According to an article published by the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California, studies show that nicotine does protect against nigrostriatal damage. Nicotine also reduces I-dopa-induced involuntary and abnormal movements.

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