"The Heart of the Matter"

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Transcripts: 564.1& 564.2

Week: 564.1 Guest: Dr. John Baron, Prof. Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, NH Topic: Nicotine's effects on the brain Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: The up side to nicotine...in a moment...

SPOT: 15 years in the prevention of heart disease, stroke and trauma- the National Emergency Medicine Association. Call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Many researchers are looking into some positive effects of nicotine, which is responsible for us getting hooked on smoking, and makes it so hard to quit. Dr. John Baron of Dartmouth Medical School fills us in on the dark side...

BARON: Nicotine is a real drug....it can kill you, it can cause seizures in very large overdoses, and this gives us a clue that it also has behavioral and nervous system benefits.

NEMA: ...but nicotine is also found to stimulate the production of substances that help in recognition, learning, and memory... as well as the reward center of the brain...

BARON: ...there are receptors for acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that is released by the neurons and that stimulates other neurons. And nicotine binds to a certain kind of acetylcholine receptor... called nicotinic receptors.

NEMA: Nicotine is being studied for positive effects in colitis, schizophrenia and Tourette Syndrome.... and has profound effects on Parkinson's disease. We'll talk with Dr. Baron about that research soon. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.

Transcripts:

Week: 564.2 Guest: Dr. John Baron, Prof. Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, NH Topic: Smoking and Parkinson's disease Producer/Host: Steve Girard

NEMA: The up side of smoking?...in a moment...

SPOT: For 15 years, the National Emergency Medicine Association has worked against stroke, heart disease and trauma. Join the effort, call 800-332-6362.

NEMA: Dr. John Baron of Dartmouth Medical School is one of a number of researchers looking into the positive effects of a very addictive drug - nicotine. Dr. Baron's epidemiologic studies have shown smokers don't get Parkinson's disease nearly as much as non-smokers....in fact, about half as much...

BARON: I have experienced some hostility when I present results, because the findings can be interpreted to mean that smoking has a beneficial side. But uncomfortable or not, they may be very valuable in helping us understand the disorders that we're talking about.

NEMA: Dr. Baron emphasizes it's the effect of the nicotine that seems to produce the big benefit...not the smoking. But researchers are now looking for a nicotine-like agent to use against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's...

BARON: and the neurophysiologists have begun designing drugs other than nicotine which may have a better safety profile, and may have even a more potent effect.

NEMA: And nicotine has been shown effective in tests on colitis, schizophrenia and Tourette Syndrome. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.

 

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