Nicotine Therapy For Multiple Sclerosis?

Have you ever heard anything about this? I have not personally, though I am always interested in finding ways to prevent the damage attributed to MS. Here is an interesting find pointed out to me by my husband, who was researching myelin in relation to ADHD.

“Dr. Bartzokis believes that nicotine, delivered through a patch, not through smoking cigarettes, should be studied for its efficacy in promoting the growth and maintenance of myelin, and that AChEIs “deserve much closer scrutiny” as a therapy for the prevention of both developmental and degenerative brain disorders.”
– Nicotine helps Autism sufferers | Unlock Autism.

I am interested in hearing about any studies that link smoking and Multiple Sclerosis, personally, I started smoking around the age of 14 and smoked heavily until reaching the age of 18. It was soon after this that I was diagnosed as having had a stroke (attributed to PFO and Birth Control, though maybe smoking had something to do with it?) and two years after this I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Reading this article makes me wonder a lot of things; Could quitting smoking have weakened my myelin? Did smoking prevent an earlier onset of Multiple Sclerosis? Perhaps if I hadn’t quit in such a ‘cold-turkey’ manner I would have not had the experiences that I did? It is hard to say considering studies like THIS ONE show that smoking leads to progressing MS further. But is this due to the Nicotine really? It seems all the other chemicals added to today’s tobacco being smoked may have more to do with it. I would be interested in seeing a similar study that takes using the patch with pure nicotine into consideration. The article linked above mentions nicotine passing the blood brain barrier which could potentially be a good thing if this article is correct in nicotine stimulating the regeneration of myelin.

I find that the health risks and the benefits that Tobacco has shown us throughout history are again representative of the pros and cons that need to be balanced with any treatment and customizing it to an individual person. Likewise the other variables being added by the tobacco industry need to be evaluated and eliminated before blaming the plant for these claims to harming a person are made. Seeing that the tobacco plant, or just the nicotine within might help our brains functionality reminds me of the shock that I felt upon learning that my sodium and cholesterol levels were deemed way way too low and how frustrating it was to know that following all the ‘good health’ advice preached to the general public did not apply to me. We are not average beings and to all be treated the same, as if we were average, doesn’t make sense.

So personally since I am still nursing my newest baby who is almost 2 weeks old and will continue to do so for at least a year I do not have any plan to start taking the nicotine patch for my MS unless someone more well trained on this topic can convince me to do so perhaps with a very low low dose patch.

Wellness, medicine, and the way our brains work continues to intrigue me.

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10 Responses to Nicotine Therapy For Multiple Sclerosis?

  1. Lori says:

    Shortly after my diagnosis there were a few studies that came out that showed smoking led to a quicker progression of MS symptoms and earlier disability.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/706194
    http://ms.about.com/od/multiplesclerosis101/a/smoking_ms_progression.htm
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407161734.htm

    I have never heard of anyone saying that smoking has helped anyone with anything other than a disease caused by quitting smoking called ulcerative proctitis.

  2. Kristin says:

    I agree and found the same information about smoking, however if you look at the link regarding nicotine (again not smoking but with nicotine therapy/studies) there are some compelling information.

    What if the patch could help?

  3. zack says:

    I was diagnosed with MS in 2003. I happen to have begun using nicotine gum about one month ago. The results have been amazing. I’m feeling so much better I’ve considered the possibility of returning to work.

    This is all very new, and who knows if it will last? Nicotine is also a stimulant; I’m certain it has helped the fatigue for that reason. But it has also helped minimize the nausea and vertigo.

    I have to go get my son going, I’ll update with more comments as time permits.

  4. Kristin says:

    Fascinating, I look forward to more information from you! I have questions but I’ll wait until you write more to start prying 😉 Thank you for your comments!!

  5. Kristin says:

    Did you start the gum for MS or to quit smoking?

  6. Malcolm says:

    Hi Kristin,

    I smoked from about 12 until 26, I gave up just before my first child was born. I am now 45 and was diagnosed with MS 5 years ago. I have recently tried a bit of smoking, mainly for nostalgic reasons. My walking has deteriorated though and I am thinking maybe it is the handful of fags I have smoked. I am though interested in trying nicotine gum or patches.

    Malcolm

  7. Kristin says:

    If you notice a difference in your walking and you do try the gum/patches let us know please!

  8. Pingback: Red Wine Helping Multiple Sclerosis (MS) | Organic Tech Mama...

  9. Satyajeet says:

    I was a mild smoker till I was diagnosed with MS at 25. After a week on Methyl Prednisolone IV I recovered 95% and kept a strict regimen of diet and quit smoking completely.
    Became so healthy that I travelled 36 locations in Europe and India. Till a series of personal disasters wrecked my nerves and I started smoking again(3 ciggerates a day).
    Alas I suffered a relapse and haven’t recovered completely this time. Now am on Nico Gums and Oral tobacco.
    Personally I think Smoking is directly related to onset and progresion of MS alongwith Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
    Not sure about Nico Gums. Would like to know more on this?

  10. Kristin says:

    I’d like to know more too…what kind of diet regimen were you following?

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