In this medical video learn how the same chemical found in cigarettes could be the next big breakthrough for patients with Alzheimer's.
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Jennifer Matthews: Harvey and Kay Ottinger have shared 50 years of homemade meals, so you can bet Kay noticed when Harvey's memory started slipping. She signed them both up for a memory test. Harvey Ottinger: We both went down there, and they screened us. Kay passed it very well, but I didn't pass. Jennifer Matthews: Harvey enrolled in a study to test the effects of nicotine on memory loss. Paul Newhouse: Nicotine can improve learning. It can improve attentional performance. Jennifer Matthews: For the study, patients with mild memory loss will wear a nicotine patch or placebo patch for a year. The hope is that nicotine can replace the chemicals lost as memory fades. Paul Newhouse: We think it would provide a way to treat the earliest signs of memory loss and attentional loss. Jennifer Matthews: The patch does not cause addiction. In fact, nicotine is also being studied to treat schizophrenia, ADHD and Parkinson's. Dr. Newhouse is excited about nicotine's potential for Alzheimer's. Paul Newhouse: This is the kind of work that makes my career and life and work seem meaningful. Jennifer Matthews: Harvey's not sure if he's on the real thing or a placebo, but either way, he says being in the study has already helped. Paul Newhouse: I take extra precautions like writing down certain things that I have to do, I feel good, yeah. Jennifer Matthews: And if he does forget something, Kay is right by his side to remind him. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.