|No animals got smoke breaks...|
According to research at Texas A&M, nicotine--when given independently of tobacco--could protect the brain as it ages, warding off Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. Could--repeat, could.
Published in the Open Access J of Toxicology, the research was done using animal models. They added nicotine to the animals' drinking water. There were three levels of nicotine--low, medium and high--and a control group with no nicotine.
The low and medium groups didn't show any nicotine in their blood and no changes in food intake, body weight or number of nicotine receptors. The highest concentration animals gained less weight and had more receptors--showing the drug got to the brain. But--even at high doses--it didn't make the animals more anxious, which was a fear.
Some people say smoking cuts anxiety, some say it increases it, the researchers say. They hoped it would be neither.
For anti-aging effects, they looked at whether the animals gained weight. But they could not conclude that lowering body mass translated into less degeneration in the brain.
So--bottom line--there is promise here, but people should not start smoking based on this. The negatives from smoking far outweigh any advantages as shown here.