Nicotine can block Alzheimer's
A byproduct of nicotine metabolism may prevent the formation of the brain-clogging plaques linked with Alzheimer's disease, according to a study.
The preliminary finding offers a potential explanation for previous research linking cigarette smoking with a delayed onset of Alzheimer's, said study author Dr Kim D Janda, a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in California.
But this controversial line of investigation is in its infancy, and some researchers have concluded that smoking may promote dementia.
People worried about developing Alzheimer's disease should certainly not start lighting up in an effort to ward off the mind-robbing disease, Janda said.
In the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Janda and colleague Tobin J Dickerson report that nornicotine, a nicotine byproduct, prevented beta-amyloid proteins from clumping together in a test tube to form the plaques found in Alzheimer's patients. These plaques can kill brain cells, though it is not clear whether they are a cause or consequence of the disease.
Lipitor cuts heart attack risk in diabetics
The cholesterol fighter Lipitor significantly reduced strokes and heart attacks in patients with diabetes, prompting researchers to halt a drug study, drugmaker Pfizer Inc. said on Monday.
The four-year trial was stopped mid-stream to allow all patients participating in the study to receive Lipitor.
Lipitor, the world's top-selling medicine, is highly popular among patients and doctors because it can reduce artery-clogging LDL cholesterol by over 50 per cent.