While still a theory, a Stanford Medical nicotine study is analyzing ways nicotine could combat inflammatory diseases.
In a series of studies, Stanford Medicine discovered evidence that individuals who had a history of smoking nicotine often showed a greater defense against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as inflammatory bowel ailments.
The Stanford Medical nicotine study noted the results focused primarily on the nicotine compound, not the act of smoking tobacco.
Serving as a receptor for certain nerve cells, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, and its many forms, particularly the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine (alpha-7 nAChR), interact with certain regions of the brain, Stanford Medical reported.
The studies found that some individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia had decreased levels of alpha-7 nAChR.
An individual’s immune cells also showed positive signs when the alpha-7 nAChR receptor is present, Stanford Medical suggested.
Long vilified as a highly addictive compound in the tobacco plant, nicotine is proving to have therapeutic assets, the research indicates.
A 2012 study, engineered by Stanford neuroimmunologist Dr. Larry Steinman, Dr. Jonathan Rothbard, a senior scientist, and associates demonstrated how a small protein, beta-amyloid, should be seen as more than a link in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The team displayed the previously demonized molecule could provide unexpected therapeutic value.
Testing with rodents, Steinman, Rothbard, and company demonstrated how the beta-amyloid-injected animals showed a decrease in multiple-sclerosis (MS) symptoms.
Steinman also is credited with MS research that led to the development and 2004 release of FDA-sanctioned Tysabri, an MS drug.
Steinman and Rothbard continue to work on small-molecule therapeutics, hoping to discover more uncommon links to help aid individuals with, among other ailments, rheumatoid arthritis and gout, according to a press release.
It will be interesting to see if additional studies will continue to vindicate nicotine.
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