Coral snake venom reveals a unique route to lethality

For more than a decade, a vial of rare snake venom refused to give up its secret formula for lethality; its toxins had no effect on the proteins that most venoms target. Finally, an international team of researchers figured ...

Researchers uncover earliest tobacco use in the Pacific Northwest

(Phys.org)—Native American hunter-gatherers living more than a thousand years ago in what is now northwestern California ate salmon, acorns and other foods, and now we know they also smoked tobacco—the earliest known ...

Nicotine enhances bees' activity

Nicotine-laced nectar can speed up a bumblebee's ability to learn flower colours, according to scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Urban sparrows find new use for cigarette butts

Cigarette butts are widely reviled as an urban nuisance but birds in Mexico City see them as a boon, apparently using them to deter parasites from their nests, scientists say.

New pump created for microneedle drug-delivery patch

(PhysOrg.com) -- Purdue University researchers have developed a new type of pump for drug-delivery patches that might use arrays of "microneedles" to deliver a wider range of medications than now possible with conventional ...

Wearable electronic skin delivers drugs and stores data

Average life expectancy has nearly doubled since 1800, thanks to progress in medicine. Most of that was made by developing drugs and improving public health services. The medical revolution of the 21st century is going to ...

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Nicotine

Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) which constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of dry weight of tobacco, with biosynthesis taking place in the roots, and accumulating in the leaves. It functions as an antiherbivore chemical with particular specificity to insects; therefore nicotine was widely used as an insecticide in the past, and currently nicotine analogs such as imidacloprid continue to be widely used.

In low concentrations (an average cigarette yields about 1 mg of absorbed nicotine), the substance acts as a stimulant in mammals and is one of the main factors responsible for the dependence-forming properties of tobacco smoking. According to the American Heart Association, "Nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break." The pharmacological and behavioral characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine content in cigarettes has actually slowly increased over the years, and one study found that there was an average increase of 1.6% per year between the years of 1998 and 2005. This was found for all major market categories of cigarettes.

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