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Medicine Earth Science

Nicotine Shown To Reduce Symptoms of Schizophrenia (newatlas.com) 205

New submitter future guy quotes a report from New Atlas: A meta-analysis of worldwide studies conducted in 2005 definitively showed what many doctors had been anecdotally noting for decades. Schizophrenia patients were much more likely to become heavy smokers than than those in the general population. In fact some studies found over 80 percent of those diagnosed with schizophrenia were smokers. There were many social and psychological hypotheses proposed to explain this strange anomaly, but none were ever sufficient. A new study published in Nature Medicine has not only revealed how smoking can normalize the impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia, but unlocks an entirely new field of drug research to combat the disease. The study expanded on the recent discovery of a genetic mutation, labelled CHRNA5, that was identified as being associated with the cognitive impairments seen in schizophrenic patients. The scientists took mice with the CHRNA5 gene variant and discovered they displayed similar characteristics to those suffering from schizophrenia, such as an inability to suppress a startle response and an aversion to social interaction. Using brain imaging technologies the research team discovered the mice with the CHRNA5 gene variant displayed symptoms of hypofrontality, a state of decreased blood flow in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Hypofrontality is commonly thought to be a prominent cause of many symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as being associated with other psychiatric conditions including Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. As well as identifying the role this gene variant plays in causing hypofrontality, the study examined how nicotine acted to restore normal activity to the prefrontal cortex. The researchers found that within one week of daily nicotine dosing the impaired brain activity in mice with schizophrenic characteristics had normalized.
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Nicotine Shown To Reduce Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @11:37PM (#53740129)

    Petco will start selling Marlboros next to the cat food.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 25, 2017 @11:42PM (#53740149)

    Interesting, I suspect that increased Norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex mediated by the activation of Nicotinic receptors increases prefrontal cortical control over the limbic system. I wonder if Atomoxetine would do the same thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know what most of those words mean, but I do hope someone sends APK a carton of Camels.

    • See Also! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by neoshroom ( 324937 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:37AM (#53740857)

      Interesting, I suspect that increased Norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex mediated by the activation of Nicotinic receptors increases prefrontal cortical control over the limbic system. I wonder if Atomoxetine would do the same thing.

      Also see this earlier Slashdot article: https://science.slashdot.org/s... [slashdot.org]

      On that article I responded to:

      The title says peppers but it says nicotine is actually the chemical at work. There are actually a few positive effects nicotine possesses, the negative effects of smoking are mediated by the oxidation products of cigarettes.

      Which makes me wonder if electronic cigarette products may not only be not bad for you, but even potentially beneficial as they give you a low dose of nicotine through vaporization without the oxidation caused by burning.

      https://slashdot.org/comments.... [slashdot.org]

      • Re:See Also! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jabuzz ( 182671 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @06:28AM (#53740979) Homepage

        While probably much safer than traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes still carry risks. For starters the flavoured ones produce toxic and carcinogenic compounds when they are vaporized. See following link for peer reviewed paper on the subject.

        http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10... [acs.org]

        Here are three peer reviewed papers that show that e-cigarette vapour causes DNA damage

        https://academic.oup.com/toxsc... [oup.com]

        http://www.sciencedirect.com/s... [sciencedirect.com]

        http://www.nature.com/ebd/jour... [nature.com]

        If you need a low dose of nicotine then I would suggest gum or patches would be safer than e-cigarettes but I doubt even then that it is a zero risk choice because in general there is no such thing as zero risk choice.

      • I switched to vaping when my wife fell pregnant. As a vaper I'm under NO illusions that this is a HEALTHY alternative, that's bullshit. Healthier yes, but not healthy.

        • Re:Healthy (Score:3, Funny)

          by hackwrench ( 573697 )
          In other news, life is a series of tradeoffs.
          • Indeed. I could have tried to quit, with a very high risk of failure, and put my daughter at risk - or I could take the much more guaranteed but not 100% effective option. I opted for the latter.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @07:05AM (#53741033)

      Interesting, I suspect that increased Norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex mediated by the activation of Nicotinic receptors increases prefrontal cortical control over the limbic system. I wonder if Atomoxetine would do the same thing.

      Big Tobacco against Big Pharma in the battle for profits?

      Hang on, let me get my popcorn.

      This lobbyist bloodbath ought to make Game of Thrones look like a Spongebob episode.

      • Trust me, if there is anything too this, nicotine, will be replaced by a synthetic patentable targeted drug, which will be replaced by a newer targeted drug with fewer side-effects and better efficacy just as the original goes generic.

    • I suspect that increased Norepinephrine in the prefrontal cortex mediated by the activation of Nicotinic receptors increases prefrontal cortical control over the limbic system.

      That's easy for you to say.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:21AM (#53740247) Journal

    The voices from my microwave have been telling me this for years.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @02:05AM (#53740451)

      About 3.5 million Americans are schizophrenic, about 1% of the population. It is a major root cause of homelessness, addiction, suicide, and many other social problems. Yet we consider it funny to ridicule them in ways that would not be acceptable for other disabilities. Why is that?

      • Apparently we need a new tutorial, so since 5 days ago, here's how it works.
        Take a look around the room. If any of the following is the case, it is unacceptable to make fun of that particular disability.
        * someone in the room has the disability
        * someone in the room you know has a close relative with the disability
        * You are in a room full of academics, liberals, or hollywood personalities
        * You are POTUS, or otherwise someone who will need to answer to the press
        Otherwise you may assume it's safe to proce
      • Yet we consider it funny to ridicule them in ways that would not be acceptable for other disabilities. Why is that?

        If you feel your position in the tribe is threatened, the safest thing to do is lead an attack on someone even less capable.

      • My wife has schizophrenia and I still laughed real loud after reading the gp joke.

      • The truth is that schizophrenics have been revered throughout history. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad, Any weirdo who thinks God is telling them to kill their kid or build a boat is a prophet and dudes with actual vision like Alexander the Great have to take a back seat. What's so bad about turning that around?
      • About 3.5 million Americans are schizophrenic, about 1% of the population. It is a major root cause of homelessness, addiction, suicide, and many other social problems. Yet we consider it funny to ridicule them in ways that would not be acceptable for other disabilities. Why is that?

        You're right. I'm ashamed of myself. I am afflicted with comic sans Tourette's, wherein when something strikes me as funny, I am unable to filter myself. About 20% of the population has this disorder and it's the leading caus

        • Why is it OK to ridicule anyone because of the way they're born? No one has control over becoming schizophrenic any more than they have control over their sexuality, gender, race, color, creed, or disability. While your joke is funny (I tend to enjoy off-color humor), you'd be raked across the coals if you made light of any of the other statuses besides mental illness.

      • All sarcasm aside, I'm actually shocked we still consider anything to be mental illness anymore.

        It seems like it's all been normalized so we can explain it away as "born that way", "eccentric" or "that's what their brain feels they are" so we can hand-wave anyone who seriously considers helping people that are obviously mentally ill as bigots or hate-mongers.

        Eventually, I fear even the more serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, will be lumped in with the rest and we have to give them their safe s

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh comon people ridicule each other for all sorts of things.

        I catch flak for being overweight all the freaking time. To be honest though I find the best course of action is to make fun of myself first. Its not as much fun for others if you can find humor in it yourself.

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        What I had found strange was the large number of homeless or somehow struggling people I met who smoked. Almost all of them smoked. This is a plausible explanation.

  • I know it's not the first post but the voices insisted I post anyway. ;)

  • I believe that nicotine can not only reduce the symptoms schizophrenia, but completely eliminate them (in sufficiently large doses).

    • What ? In the same way that a 45 Luger can eliminate a migraine ?

      • 45 Luger

        Mom, is that you?? I've told you not to try telling jokes...

      • What ? In the same way that a 45 Luger can eliminate a migraine ?

        OMG the assault rifle ban is going to cause a migraine epidemic!

        • A pistol is now an assault rifle ?

          • Lugers are 9mm not 0.45 inch; shoot someone in the leg with a 9mm an ambulance takes them to the hospital, with a 45APC, [wikipedia.org] the leg probably comes mostly off and they bleed out. A lot of anti-gun people would consider the Thompson [wikipedia.org] an assault rifle.

            • Actually, wrong, 45 Cal Lugers DO exist. They are very rare and only a few were ever made, but they are a thing. At least one was plated in gold and last sold at auction for over a million dollars.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    it sounds like this should be a commercial. Do you tend to avoid social situations..yes.. do you hear voices..no. does the tv talk directly to you..no. do you think everyone around you is talking about you..of course

    light up a cowboy killer. you might have a low blood flow to your prefrontal cortex, and some gene variant that these little tobacco puffers can cure!

    studies also show higher intellect leads to less socializing. No desire to talk to dummies is a mental health problem that must be cured. More

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've never been a smoker myself, but my imaginary friend from childhood vanished around the time I started hanging out with smokers. She came back too, shortly after I stopped breathing secondhand smoke. If I ever start smoking firsthand, it might kill her. We've been imaginary friends so long now I just couldn't do that to her.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @12:54AM (#53740309)
    Hmmm.. That explains why my psycho ex-girlfriend would calm the fuck down when she'd have a cigarette...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bleh, kissing a smoker. Been there, done that, no desire for a repeat.

    • by borcharc ( 56372 ) *

      Smoking calms people because they are effectively engaging in deep breathing exercises as they smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and by itself should not calm people.

      • Smoking calms people because they are effectively engaging in deep breathing exercises as they smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and by itself should not calm people.

        Yeah that's why they give kids amphetamines so they can sit still isn't it.

  • In the Western World there is a moral imperative to denounce cigarets, alcohol, drugs and anything that smacks of fun. It is our proud Christian heritage. Right or wrong, we are emotionally dedicated to this cause and will not be deterred by inconvenient facts. Proper taxing and licensing of these corrupt activities can make them technically legal, but never morally acceptable.

    The 'inconvenient facts' are that there is an element in each of these activities that benefits society and individuals. In the case

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:55AM (#53740439)

      In the Western World there is a moral imperative to denounce cigarets, alcohol, drugs and anything that smacks of fun.

      Go talk to some smokers. Very few consider cigarettes to be "fun". 90% of smokers started before they were 18. The tobacco industry depends on getting children addicted before they have the maturity to make a rational decision. They deserve to be denounced, and we have a moral imperative to do so.

      • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:09AM (#53740583) Homepage Journal

        Cigarettes should be denounced, but not nicotine.

        It's amazing to me how often the bad effects of smoking get attributed to nicotine itself.

        • by Tukz ( 664339 )

          Yeah, while ignoring the 70+ other ingredients they add to cigarettes.
          Including freaking chocolate to increase dependency.

          Not saying nicotine isn't unhealthy, but it's by far not the unhealthiest ingredient in cigarettes.

          • Yeah, while ignoring the 70+ other ingredients they add to cigarettes.

            It's actually hundreds... everything from nutmeg to formaldehyde...

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            IIRC, when separated from all the other crap in cigarettes, nicotine is about on the level of caffeine as far as harmful potential (though it's easier to overdose). It's also a lot less addictive without the MAOIs found in cigarettes.

            • I think you may be overstating it. Nicotine presents cardiovascular issues not found in affine.
              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                There may be some effects, but there is nothing so far suggesting a problem for healthy users. People with cardiovascular disease are often advised to reduce or eliminate caffeine as well.

      • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:06AM (#53740805) Journal

        Go talk to some smokers. Very few consider cigarettes to be "fun". 90% of smokers started before they were 18. The tobacco industry depends on getting children addicted before they have the maturity to make a rational decision. They deserve to be denounced, and we have a moral imperative to do so.

        I started smoking in a ex-communist country with no such thing as advertisement or even a tobacco industry. We started smoking because we saw adults that we looked up to doing it. The fact that it was considered "for grownups only" made it even more enticing, after all childhood is simply the process of learning how to act and graduating to adulthood. Vices like smoking were seen as a sort of a right of passage by the the younger generations, I can't image it is all that different in the rest of the world

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And then there are people like me, who didn't start smoking until after turning 18, and who have now quit but still enjoy smoking a cigar every now and again. Unlike cigarettes, cigars are enjoyable to me. And I'm not talking about crap like Swisher Sweets or Black & Milds, I'm talking things like Obsidian, La Gloria, and Cohiba. They're like fine whiskeys, all tasting differently and something to be savored, and like a fine whiskey I enjoy it in moderation. Maybe once a month or so. Except that you'd t

        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          Except that you'd think I was murdering children and feeding puppies into a blender...

          At least when you're murdering children and blending puppies you're not invading my space with your second hand smoke. And just think of the carbon emissions! Unclean!

          Seriously, when my apartment complex goes smoke-free later this year, I've got a predicament on my hands.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Not me. I loved cigarettes. I rolled my own using either Dutch tobacco or rolling tobacco from the tobacconist. Conventional mass-market cigarettes I found intolerable, and I would actively refuse them in when I ran out of my own tobacco.

        I also smoked far fewer cigarettes than my peers who smoked conventional pre-rolled cigarettes. In a typical day I maybe only smoked 6-7. Partly because they were stronger than conventional cigarettes, and partly because it took some effort to roll them and you couldn'

        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          Not me. I loved cigarettes.

          I still do. I go through about a pack a week of light ("Silver") cigarettes smoking 1/3-1/2 at a sitting - The mass market things you don't like. The little nicotine rush is nice, but I think it's the act of smoking that brings me back - I just enjoy relaxing with a smoke.

          I was also self-conscious as a smoker, and tried to avoid smoking at all around non-smokers or even in my own residence.

          I don't smoke in my apartment, my car, or before or during work. Maybe the biggest deterrents for me are smelling like an ash try and being judged by non-smokers. People hold a lot of stereotypes about smokers. And, since I embody most of

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            I still do. I go through about a pack a week of light ("Silver") cigarettes smoking 1/3-1/2 at a sitting - The mass market things you don't like. The little nicotine rush is nice, but I think it's the act of smoking that brings me back - I just enjoy relaxing with a smoke.

            [...]

            Vaping I guess is an option - I've tried it and enjoy it, but it lacks something that I get from a nice smoldering lung-dart.

            I've also tried vaping and found it remarkably like smoking, but not quite the same. I think there's a physiological response from an actual burning cigarette that vaping can't really replicate. But I can see that it would also be an easy replacement for smoking, especially considering there's absolutely no odor. You could vape at home or in the car or even in the office, and unless someone saw you, they'd never detect it, your clothes, car and house wouldn't stink.

            Towards the last year or so that

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cigarette != nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive but potentially useful drug. A cigarette is a cancer inducing, inefficient, odorous, expensive way of obtaining a dose.

    • It is our proud Christian heritage.

      Pretty sure that particular bit of "Christian heritage" is really "Calvinist heritage". They were the subset of Christianity that really went overboard with the "if it's fun, it must be evil" thing....

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @01:46AM (#53740421) Homepage
    No wonder I'm the only sane person in my family. Everyone else smokes.
    • by ZiakII ( 829432 )
      Or they are all sane and you are the crazy one......
      • Or the poster is just as crazy as they are but they're self-medicating. Part of schizophrenia is not seeing the world as it is.

    • The point of the research wasn't that nicotine caused schizophrenia, but that nicotine was a common and somewhat effective self-medication for schizophrenia. When someone says "I'm the only sane person ..." we tend to worry about him.

  • A friend of mine worked with schitzos. The medical and government policy was to pile on the tobacco as they all knew it was mostly good for their condition. Even the schitzos knew this as they would do whatever the hell they could for more.

    Is this the sort of science that wasn't done as it was so obvious that everyone assumed that it had already been done.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      I suspect it's nicotine withdrawal that exacerbates the symptoms of schizophrenia, not nicotine use reducing the symptoms. They're just maintaining their addiction.

      • That does not, however, fit the observations of the study you are commenting on.

      • I suspect it's nicotine withdrawal that exacerbates the symptoms of schizophrenia, not nicotine use reducing the symptoms. They're just maintaining their addiction.

        I read a Paper, " "The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline", once that described how an event can happens before it's cause; must be like that.

  • Umm, I'll take schizophrenia instead. So will myself. And me.

    *Yes Yes I know you can inject nicotine instead of smoking cigarettes and getting lung cancer. There are after all other types of cancer one could want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sjames ( 1099 )

      Nicotine isn't the least bit carcinogenic. It's the other stuff in cigarette smoke(and in chewing tobacco but not snus) that causes the cancer.

  • That's not what the voices in my head tell me...
  • Did not RTFA. I'll just stick with the headline and assume I'm all good from here. Cough cough
  • by Anonymous Coward
    to quit smoking. [youtube.com]
  • Smoking and religion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, smoking tobacco may cure religion.

  • I Knew it! (Score:4, Funny)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday January 26, 2017 @03:49AM (#53740667)

    I always knew, that people standing in Minus temperatures before buildings in a storm to smoke, were mentally ill.

  • All these links to stories about declassified photos, yet all *I* want to see is one ONE measly photo of the mice, stepping out of this lab, taking a smoke break, just hanging out with these guys in their lab coats. Maybe showing off their "tracks" from other labs, or something.

  • My mother's psychiatrist gave my mother a nod for smoking. I wish her psychiatrist was there to also hold her hand while she needed 6 liters of oxygen a minute. She's died at 66.

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