Potential Breakthrough Drug Might Come From Big Tobacco

Chelsea August 1, 2014 0

Big Tobacco, almost unbelievably, is lending a hand in the creation of a potential breakthrough drug, a new class of drugs that could dull grave psychiatric disorders, improve attention of ADHD afflicted children, repel Alzheimer’s onset, relieve various ailments range and help in weight gain.

This potential breakthrough drug comes nothing else, but from nicotine, believe it or not. Big Tobacco has been investing resources on nicotinic compounds research. Given the reputation of nicotine that tobacco made the public to believe, it would also be unbelievable that nicotine could impart all these benefits. The negative effects of smoking has been wrongly linked to nicotine that many people now think that this substance has not even a slight of good thing to offer.

Researchers, however, believe that truly delving into nicotine understanding could one day lead to an effective smoking cure. Nicotine has many benefits to offer. Lighting up could elevate the mood and sharpen concentration. Over the years, doctors have observed that smokers have shown below average rates of diseases like ulcerative colitis and Parkinson’s. Nicotine also has capacity for being a cognitive enhancer for memory and learning functions.

Tobacco Companies On Nicotine Research

Millions of dollars have been allotted by tobacco companies on nicotine research. Tobacco company chemists have been working in breeding more flavorful and powerful tobacco leaf. Cigarettes have been infused with additives to further enhance the addictiveness of nicotine. In the process, tobacco giant Reynolds American became a leading repository of nicotine knowledge as positive drug.

It was in the late 1990s when these matters have all began. It was then when a harmless form of nicotine such as nicotine patches and gums became the accepted method of smoke cessation. Few were, however, listening to the good points of the substance. Governments were all so tied up to the negative effects of smoking.

This made it difficult to obtain research funding for nicotine. Dr. Paul Newhouse is a long time nicotine researcher from University of Vermont College of Medicine said that the issue with nicotine is that it is too tied to cigarettes and its image has been tainted for so long. It is hard to convince people that nicotine has potential great values. Even the government cannot easily change its perception of nicotine. Government funds have been spent on the substance’s effects on the brain, but not on the positive effects of the drug.

It was Big Tobacco that took the initiative to do what the government failed to do. With university scientists, Reynolds’ research section led by toxicologist Don DeBethizy synthesized every nicotinic compound and produced 300 reports that were published within the span of 15 years. These reports document the nicotine effects and workings on mind and body. This prompted the awareness about nicotine as a therapeutic drug.

Neuroscience Advances

Observational and anecdotal information has been explained and affirmed. According to studies, at least 80$ of schizophrenics are smoking cigarettes, which is possibly due to the released dopamine bursts in the brain when a patient smokes. Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine’s John Dani stated that schizophrenia is a condition mainly of the dopamine system in the brain.

Nicotine functions by binding itself to nicotinic cholinergic receptors found on the surface of various cells throughout the brain and the body. With receptors activated, various neurotransmitters are stimulated, particularly dopamine.

Dopamine regulates the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. Dopamine bursts also affect the potency of nicotine as potential smart drug or cognitive enhancer.

There were 41 studies analyzed in 2010 wherein it was found that nicotine can increase alertness, motor skills, response time and working/short term memory. In 200, RJ Reynolds made a buzz when it made its research section to Targacept, an independent biotech company. Its mission was to look deep into the expertise and knowledge about nicotine.

A lot of things have happened and occurred. Public perception on nicotine might have changed, but only a little. This is seen on the way prohibitionists and media are emphasizing that electronic cigarettes still out to be hated because of delivering nicotine. Until that wonder drug is finally developed, all confusion and misconception will finally be ended.

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