Home » News » New Class of Meds for Cognitive Disorders

New Class of Meds for Cognitive Disorders

Researchers from the University of California Irvine report the discovery of a new class of compounds that could be used for drugs to treat cognitive disorders that accompany schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD.

The compounds target receptors in the brain that are activated by nicotine. They impart the beneficial effects of nicotine – specifically enhanced cognition – without the numerous health threats associated with smoking.

The study is published in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’d like to see this lead to a drug that would address specifically the cognitive deficits found in schizophrenia,” said Kelvin W. Gee, professor in the Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine at UC Irvine. Some examples of such deficits include difficulty concentrating and adapting to change and poor memory, which makes it more difficult for them to remember to take their antipsychotic medication.

“We could probably treat more schizophrenics on an outpatient basis and allow them to re-enter mainstream society if we could address cognition,” Gee said.
Anecdotally, the effect of nicotine in the brains of schizophrenics has been noted for years, Gee said. Many people with the mental illness use tobacco as a sort of self-medication to help them think more clearly.

The three-year study conducted with rodents supported the anecdotal evidence, showing that activating a certain nicotinic receptor in the brain improved working memory and made it easier to filter sensory input. Additional animal work is needed to confirm findings and make sure the compound is safe before testing can be done with human subjects.

Source: University of California Irvine

New Class of Meds for Cognitive Disorders

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). New Class of Meds for Cognitive Disorders. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 25, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/05/03/new-class-of-meds-for-cognitive-disorders/796.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.