Nicotine’s positive impact

| January 24, 2017

the brain photoA steady stream of nicotine normalizes genetically-induced impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, according to a EurekAlert story citing new research involving the University of Colorado Boulder, US.

The finding sheds light on what causes the disease and why those who have it tend to smoke heavily.

Ultimately the authors of the study, released online yesterday in the journal Nature Medicine, envision their work could lead to new non-addictive, nicotine-based treatments for some of the 51 million people worldwide who suffer from the disease.

“Our study provides compelling biological evidence that a specific genetic variant contributes to risk for schizophrenia, defines the mechanism responsible for the effect and validates that nicotine improves that deficit,” said Jerry Stitzel, a researcher at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics (IBG) and one of four CU Boulder researchers on the study.

Led by Uwe Maskos, a researcher at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, the study found that when mice with schizophrenic characteristics were given nicotine daily, their otherwise sluggish brain activity increased within two days. Within one week it had normalized.

“Basically, the nicotine is compensating for a genetically determined impairment,” said Stitzel. “No one has ever shown that before.”

The EurekAlert report is at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/uoca-nnb012317.php.

Category: Breaking News

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