While some people suffer from depression throughout their lives, some are not affected by it until they are over the age of about 60. In this case, the condition is referred to as late-life depression, or LLD. Now, a new study has been undertaken by a team at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. This has revealed nicotine could be recommended to help enhance the mood of some of those affected by this form of depression. While antidepressants are often prescribed to such individuals, they do not work in all cases. So, could nicotine be the next best thing?

It is hardly news to learn that nicotine can enhance cognitive performance. This has been well-known for a long time. but the authors of the new study suggest that certain “nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonists” could be beneficial to those who do not respond to the usual medication. Nicotine could be included in this group.

The suggestion is those who do not benefit from typical antidepressants could take part in clinical trials in the future. These trials would deliver nicotine via a patch, in much the same way nicotine patches are used to help people quit smoking. It is not yet known whether the patches would work in the desired manner, but previous research has shown some indication of improved cognitive performance. ADHD patients have performed better with the aid of nicotine patches than those without, as one of the authors has already shown in a previous study.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think nicotine patches could be the answer to helping those with late-life depression to manage their condition? While nicotine is often seen as something bad, it could be it has the potential to help some people with specific medical conditions such as LLD.

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