In 2006, the Duke University Medical Centre conducted a study into the effects of nicotine on non-smokers dealing with depression. They found that the release of dopamine and serotonin that comes with the intake of nicotine could help those struggling with anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it was found that those who struggled with depression and anxiety would find it more difficult to give up smoking. Vaping then acts as a great way for those struggling with mental illness to alleviate symptoms without inhaling the harmful effects of tobacco. A win-win. What is even more exciting is that in the past few months, it has been found that nicotine can help the symptoms of another form of depression known as late life depression, a relatively unexplored phenomenon.
What is late life depression?
Late life depression occurs in people in the 50+ age bracket who have not previously had problems with depression. This can lead to deteriorating mental and physical functionality and is tricky to spot because the victims present symptoms such as insomnia and anorexia as opposed to feelings of depression or anxiety. Furthermore, older people will put symptoms of depression down to merely old age. This means that the condition can take a while to be diagnosed, causing to prolonged suffering in those unlucky enough to experience it.
So where does nicotine come in?
Nicotine has been proven as a performance enhancer in drug tests for animals due to the fact that it can improve cognitive capabilities in those who perform poorly. This is one of the main symptoms in LLD, poor or lowered cognitive capabilities and further testing has been proposed for nicotine’s use in the condition. These trials include delivering nicotine through transdermal patches into to the patients and recording the psychological effects and the release of chemicals into the body.
The study, taken by three researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville include members of the Vanderbilt Centre for Cognitive Medicine and involves those with an extensive background in studying the short and long term effects of nicotine. One of the maor credits to the professionals conducting these tests into LLD include research showing evidence that ADHD suffering non-smokers performed better on concentration tests when wearing a nicotine patch. This proves how positive the LLD tests could turn out to be.
So what does this mean for vaping?
Whilst smoking tobacco is highly discouraged in older people due to the massive health risks involved, vaping is 95% safer than tobacco and therefore could potentially be used as a form of medication for LLD sufferers. This is a new breakthrough in just one of the many positives which vaping can bring to the world.