Monday, January 29, 2007

Blowing My Brains Out? Nah! Read On...

One of my long time buddies forwarded this article to me this morning. It's an interesting read about the health benefits of nicotine. Of course there's plenty of information about the health benefits of marijuana also, but even if most medical professionals consider it one of the best anti-seizure medicines available the government still wants me to buy expensive pills at the drugstore so the likes of Pfizer and Merck can continue to pay stock dividends to their shareholders and bonuses to their executives..
---------------------------------------------------------------------January 29, 2007

Bottom Line's Daily Health News BIG BAD NICOTINE -- MAY NOT BE SO I recently came across some astonishing information about the health benefits of nicotine. Nicotine? That devil of a drug that addicts smokers to deadly cigarettes? According to researcher Luis Ulloa,PhD, of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset,New York, I should not have been so surprised, for nicotine actually has a long and rich healing history. In 1560, Jean Nicot, after whom the present name of the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum was named,introduced tobacco to the queen of France for her migraines. Nicot promoted tobacco's therapeutic properties for various other ailments as well.Now modern researchers, including Dr. Ulloa, have some evidence that supports some of the theories dating back to the 1500s. They have discovered that nicotine possesses anti-inflammatory properties that ease the symptoms of conditions involving inflammation, such as Alzheimer's disease and ulcerative colitis. It is possible that one day you may see medicinal compounds derived from nicotine beyond its current prescriptive use for tobacco addiction. NICOTINE AND INFLAMMATION: Until recently, no one understood how nicotine affected inflammationin the body. The problem with nicotine was that we didn't know its mechanism of action, and it cannot be used extensively in humans due to the risk of secondary effects, explains Dr. Ulloa. Nicotine is known to be an addictive chemical in tobacco and tobacco products contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer risk.To unravel the mystery of nicotine's anti-inflammatory benefits and risky side effects, Dr. Ulloa and his colleagues studied its impact on mice infected with severe sepsis. This dangerous inflammatory condition occurs as a complication (secondary infection) after an underlying illness has progressed.While the initial problem in sepsis is infection, this is dwarfed bythe extremely aggressive inflammatory response that follows. To defend itself, the body mobilizes infection-fighting white bloodcells known as macrophages, which respond by furiously pumping out pro-inflammatory immune system proteins called cytokines. Instead of protecting the body, however, this backfires in lethal fashion,resulting in life-threatening tissue damage, organ failure and cardiovascular complications.This is where nicotine comes in. The working hypothesis is that nicotine blocks a pathway involved in inflammation and the production of cytokines by macrophages. In his research, Dr. Ulloa found that the effect of nicotine appears to be mediated by a specific nicotinic receptor. He points out that this is a major breakthrough because researchers can now design specific agonists for that receptor in order to overcome the clinical limitations of nicotine by hopefullyminimizing risky side effects, such as toxicity, cardiovascular and tumor-causing risk and addiction.LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE In the future, researchers hope to develop healing compounds that harness nicotine's healing qualities while limiting its toxicity.While this study focused on sepsis, some physicians suggest that it may be possible to use nicotine patches for inflammatory disorders such as ulcerative colitis. Stay tuned... but don't start smoking. Be well,Carole JacksonBottom Line's Daily Health News if you want to get the latest in health news


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