Tobacco-derived compound prevents memory loss in Alzheimer's mice

June, 2011

A mouse study has found that a compound derived from tobacco reduced plaques associated with dementia and prevented memory loss.

Some epidemiological studies have showed that people who smoke tend to have lower incidences of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease; this has been widely attributed to nicotine. However, nicotine's harmful effects make it a poor drug candidate.

Cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine metabolism, is nontoxic and longer lasting than nicotine.

In the study, genetically engineered 2-month-old mice were given cotinine daily for five months. When tested, those treated with cotinine performed at the same level as normal mice on spatial memory tests, and showed a 26% reduction in deposits of amyloid plaques, compared to the genetically engineered mice who had not received the treatment. Cotinine also inhibited the accumulation of the amyloid peptide oligomers, and stimulated the signaling factor Akt, which promotes the survival of neurons and enhances attention and memory.

The researchers are hoping to carry out a pilot clinical trial to investigate cotinine's effectiveness in preventing progression to Alzheimer's dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Reference: 

Echeverria, V. et al. In press. Cotinine Reduces Amyloid-β Aggregation and Improves Memory in Alzheimer's Disease Mice. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 24 (4).

Related News

As we all know, people are living longer and obesity is at appalling levels. For both these (completely separate!) reasons, we expect to see growing rates of dementia. A new analysis using data from the long-running Framingham Heart Study offers some hope to individuals, however.

A study involving 39 older adults has found that those randomly assigned to a “high-challenge” group showed improved cognitive performance and more efficient brain activity compared with those assigned to a low-challenge group, or a control group.

Data from 2,800 participants (aged 65+) in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study has revealed that one type of cognitive training benefits less-educated people more than it does the more-educated.

A study involving 266 people with mild cognitive impairment (aged 70+) has found that B vitamins are more effective in slowing cognitive decline when people have higher omega 3 levels.

Growing research has implicated infections as a factor in age-related cognitive decline, but these have been cross-sectional (comparing different individuals, who will have a number of other, possibly confounding, attributes).

Another study adds to the growing evidence that a Mediterranean diet is good for the aging brain.

A two-year study which involved metabolic testing of 50 people, suggests that Alzheimer's disease consists of three distinct subtypes, each one of which may need to be treated differently. The finding may help explain why it has been so hard to find effective treatments for the disease.

A study involving both mice and human cells adds to evidence that stress is a risk factor for Alzheimer's.

Data from 23,572 Americans from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study has revealed that those who survived a stroke went on to have significantly faster rates of cognitive decline as they aged.

A study involving 382 older adults (average age 75) followed for around five years, has found that those who don’t get enough vitamin D may experience cognitive decline at a much faster rate than people who have adequate vitamin D.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news