August 07, 2006

Nicotine-like Drugs for Schizophrenia - Update

This month, MIT's Technology Review magazine touched upon the issue we've identified many times in the past on the site - including in our Smoking, Nicotine and Schizophrenia Special Report - upon the potential for new drugs that mimic the positive impact that nicotine seems to have for people who have schizophrenia.

The Technology review reports that:

Everyone knows that smoking does good things and bad," says David Lowe, chief scientific officer at Memory Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company based in Montvale, NJ. "We're trying to focus on receptors that mediate the good things."

The good things include a positive effect on memory and attention, as evidenced both by cognitive testing and by the legions who file outside for smoke breaks before an exam or an important meeting. Meanwhile, smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's and possibly Alzheimer's diseases. And people with schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder are much more likely to smoke than the general population; scientists believe that these patients may be unconsciously self-medicating to make up for some kind of deficit in the brain.

Read the full story: The Upside to Nicotine?

Additional Reading:
Schizophrenia, Nicotine, Smoking - Special Report

Nicotine and Schizophrenia Prevention


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