The long coming mystery has been solved! In a study, researchers have found that nicotine normalises generally-induced impairments in brain activity associated with schizophrenia. The study showed that people worldwide who suffer from the disease were found having nicotine-based treatments.
As a part of the study, scientists have fed nicotine to mice with schizophrenic disease. After a dosage of a couple of days, their sluggish brain activity increased and got normalised within a week.
The research also falls light on the cause of the disease and why they tend to smoke heavily. It could also potentially have applications for treating addiction, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar disorder and other psychiatric conditions.
The researcher at the Institute forBehavioural Genetics (IBG) in the US, Jerry Stitzel said, “Our study provides compelling biological evidence that a specific genetic variant contributes to risk for schizophrenia, defines the mechanism responsible for the effect and validates that nicotine improves that deficit.”
“Basically the nicotine is compensating for a genetically determined impairment. No one has ever shown that before,” Stitzel added.
The scientists set out to explore the and causes of “hypofrontality” a reduction of neuronal firing in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Hypofrontality is believed to be the root cause of many of the signature cognitive problems experienced by schizophrenics, including trouble paying attention, remembering things, making decisions and understanding verbal explanations.
Stitzel also said that the findings validated that the gene variant likely plays a role in schizophrenia by causing hypofrontality. Nicotine appeared to reverse this in the mice, normalising brain activity by acting on nicotinic receptors in regions of the brain key to healthy cognitive function.
The research was first published in the journal Nature Medicine.