Dear Abby: Study explores memory benefits of nicotine

Published 4:41 pm Monday, July 5, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: My patients, like most Americans, believe memory loss is a normal part of aging. But memory loss is never normal. In fact, it can be a symptom of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Nearly 1 in 7 people age 65-plus have MCI, but there is no treatment — yet.

I’m proud to lead the NIH-funded MIND (Memory Improvement Through Nicotine Dosing) Study, which is testing whether memory and functioning can be improved in people with mild memory loss using an unexpected, low-cost and naturally occurring ingredient — nicotine.

I realize that because of its association with smoking, nicotine gets a bad rap. But the tar and thousands of other chemicals in cigarettes are what cause cancer, heart disease or respiratory illness — not nicotine. If we could push Alzheimer’s back, by even a few years, it would make so much difference for millions of American families.

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The MIND Study is enrolling healthy nonsmokers over the age of 55 with mild memory loss. I hope your readers who are interested will call (toll-free) 1-866-MIND-150 or visit to receive more information. — PAUL NEWHOUSE, M.D., Project Director, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

DEAR DR. NEWHOUSE: I hope so, too, and that they will be intrigued enough to join your study. I know that your study is valid and wish you — and the readers who choose to participate — the best of luck.

DEAR ABBY: I had several rough years in my marriage. We finally hit a good patch and had sex again. I told my husband to keep our sex life between ourselves and not discuss it with his family. Well, three days later, my daughter overheard him on the phone with a family member, explicitly discussing the intimate details of our encounter.

Unfortunately, she was unable to get to the door to close it and heard things that shocked her. Although she’s in her 20s, what he was saying about our relationship should not have been heard. She told me what was said, but not all of the details, thank goodness. When I confronted my husband, he denied it! I approached him twice more, and he pretended he didn’t know what I was talking about. Then he mumbled, “Don’t worry about it.”

He never admits he is wrong and thinks he should be able to discuss our sex life openly despite my strong disapproval. Our kids still live at home at 24 and 26. I am disgusted, hurt beyond forgiveness and strongly contemplating leaving him. Should I? — OLD-FASHIONED WIFE

DEAR WIFE: Your husband had no right to invite his family into your marriage bed. Talking about your sex lives with the “children” (adult or not) is inappropriate unless they are as “liberated” as he is. He seems not only to lack boundaries but also to have a problem telling the truth. Because you are rightly embarrassed, draw the line. Tell him that unless he consents to accompany you to couples counseling, you are packing your bags. Do not say this, however, unless you mean it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)