Nicotine has been the subject of interest of various research studies. These scientific investigations delved into possible cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and the researchers found that nicotine had the potential to relieve some of the symptoms of the aforementioned diseases.
In the case of Parkinson's sufferers, nicotine stimulates dopamine production in the brain:
In 1979, UCLA neurobiologist Marie-Françoise Chesselet showed that nicotine increases levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential for boosting attention, reward-seeking behaviors and risk of addictions, from gambling to drugs. Dopamine also helps control movement. Nicotine receptors in the striatum, the comma-shaped structure near the center of the brain where movements are planned and controlled, are located near the terminals that regulate and emit dopamine. Even a small dose of nicotine, Chesselet found, stimulates the release of dopamine in the striatum, putting the brakes on movement that otherwise would go uncontrolled.
Imagine how much better vaping is compared to cigarette smoking when treating Parkinson's sufferers. Vaping offers e-juices with more nicotine than cigarettes, but without the carcinogenic nitrosamines mixed into the aerosol.
Colleen McBride, director of the cancer prevention, detection and control program at Duke University Medical Center, has this to say about nicotine:
"Nicotine has a lot of therapeutic uses. There's growing evidence that it may be useful in treating Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's - their level of concentration, their ability to focus. Those of us who are caffeine users understand that. Fortunately, coffee hasn't been shown to be a negative or harmful delivery system."
Discover Magazine also mentioned a study on Alzheimer patients who used nicotine patches for six months:
The neuroprotective effects of nicotine were studied in a randomized clinical trial involving 67 subjects in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, where memory was slightly impaired but decision-making and other cognitive abilities remained intact. They received either a 15-milligram nicotine patch or placebo for six months. The results found "significant nicotine-associated improvements in attention, memory and psychomotor speed," with excellent safety and tolerability.
Aside from its positive effects on the brain, nicotine has also been found to be helpful in moderating calcium absorption into the body. In regulated amounts, nicotine showed some antioxidant properties. It can relieve the body of the free radicals, which are byproducts of metabolism, and protect the cells from further damage.