Nicotine Patch Side Effects and Benefits. A new research study shows that nicotine patches can boost memory in older nonsmokers with mild cognitive impairment, a common precursor to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The new study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), was modest in size, involving about 70 people over six months. But lead researcher Dr. Paul Newhouse said it’s the largest study ever done to investigate how nicotine might improve memory. Newhouse is director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“There were improvements in attention and memory performance in patients who took the nicotine patch compared to those with the placebo patch,” Dr. Newhouse told NPR’s Health Blog Shots. “The placebo patients stayed the same or got worse.”