Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Nicotine Patch Helps Against Cognitive Impairment
A nicotine patch worn for six months can improve attention, memory and mental processing in people with mild cognitive impairment, a clinical trial has found.
Researchers randomly assigned 67 otherwise healthy men and women with M.C.I. to wear a nicotine patch or a placebo patch for six months. The volunteers, nonsmokers whose average age was 76, took periodic tests of mental ability, mood and behavior.
Those with the nicotine patch showed improvements in reaction times, attention and long-term memory, and more modest improvements in short-term memory. For subjects on the placebo, scores declined on those tests.
Mild cognitive impairment, or M.C.I., involves a decline in mental acuity that is noticeable but not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia. It is often a precursor to more severe disease.
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