It’s time to revisit a subject on the back burner for years: The medicinal effects of nicotine. Note that we are talking about nicotine administered by chewing gum or a transdermal patch, not by smoking cigarettes or even vaping. From The Mind Unleashed website:

“Forget what you think you know about nicotine. Most people see nicotine as a vile, fiercely addictive substance that takes a large share of the blame for the multitude of deaths occurring around the world as a result of smoking. But there’s another side to the story. As well as having medicinal benefits, nicotine has untapped potential as a cognitive enhancer, boosting attention, working memory and more.”

Why does nicotine get a bad rap? Mostly because scientists, medical professionals and the media worship anti-smoking zealots. Several studies have showed that two-thirds of people think nicotine itself causes cancer, which is incorrect. More from the site:

“It’s obviously undeniable that smoking tobacco is a significant cause of cancer and a cacophony of negative health effects. Nicotine, as potentially the most widely known chemical component in tobacco, is inherently linked to these health impacts in the minds of many people. … The problem is that because nicotine is just one of about 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, and many of the others are carcinogenic and toxic. When taken out of the context of the cigarette smoke, nicotine really isn’t much to worry about at all, which is why nicotine patches, gums and other medicinal products are widely used and recommended.”

In his 2013 book, Smarter: The New Science of Brain Power, science journalist Dan Hurley wrote: “I read through dozens of human and animal studies published over the past five years showing that nicotine … may prove to be a weirdly, improbably effective cognitive enhancer and treatment for relieving or preventing a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s, mild cognitive impairment, ADHD, Tourette’s, and schizophrenia. Plus it has long been associated with weight loss. With few known safety risks.”

Remember, nicotine gum and patches are sold over the counter. Also note that they have proved largely ineffective at their FDA-approved use, helping smokers quit.

Maryka Quik of SRI International, a nonprofit research institute based in Silicon Valley, has published three dozen studies revealing the actions of nicotine within the mammalian brain. She has found that her fellow neuroscientists would rather toe the PC line, denying actual science. As she told Mr. Hurley:

“The whole problem with nicotine is that it happens to be found in cigarettes. People can’t disassociate the two in their mind, nicotine and smoking. It’s not the general public that annoys me, it’s the scientists. When I tell them about the studies … they say, ‘Oh well, that might be true, but I don’t see the point.’ It’s not even ignorance. It’s their preconceived ideas and inflexibility.”

When compiling his list of things to try to become smarter, Mr. Hurley added nicotine against the advice of his science-denying personal physician. His idea could have merit.

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