Chronic transdermal nicotine patch treatment effects on cognitive performance in age-associated memory impairment
Chronic transdermal nicotine has been found to improve attentional performance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but little is known about chronic nicotine effects in age-associated memory impairment (AAMI), a milder form of cognitive dysfunction. The current study was performed to determine the clinical and neuropsychological effects of chronic transdermal nicotine in AAMI subjects over a 4-week period.
The double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study consisted of two 4-week periods separated by a 2-week washout period.
An outpatient setting was used.
The subjects (n=11) met criteria for AAMI.
The subjects were given nicotine patches (Nicotrol) to wear for 16 h a day at the following doses: 5 mg/day during week 1, 10 mg/day during week 2 and week 3 and 5 mg/day during week 4.
The effects of nicotine treatment were determined with the clinical global impressions questionnaire, Conners’ Continuous Performance test, and the automated neuropsychologic assessment metrics (ANAM) computerized neuropsychology battery.
Nicotine significantly improved the clinical global impression score as assessed by participants, as well as objective tests of attentional function on the Connors’ Continuous Performance Test and decision reaction time on the neuropsychology test battery. Nicotine did not improve performance on other tests measuring motor and memory function.
Chronic transdermal nicotine treatment in AAMI subjects caused a sustained improvement in clinical symptoms and objective computerized tests of attention. These results support the further investigation of nicotinic treatment as a promising therapy for AAMI.
KeywordsNicotine Age-associated memory impairment Attention Nicotine skin patches
- Conners CK (1994) The continuous performance test (CPT): use as a diagnostic tool and measure of treatment outcome. Annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA, 12–16 August 1994Google Scholar
- Conners CK (1995) The continuous performance test. Multi-Health Systems, TorontoGoogle Scholar
- Crook T, Bartus T, Ferris S, Whitehouse P (1986) Age-associated memory impairment: proposed diagnostic criteria and measures of clinical change. Report of a National Institute of Mental health work group. Dev Neurobiol 2:261–276Google Scholar
- Giacobini E, DeSarno P, McIlhany M, Clark B (1988) The cholinergic receptor system in the frontal lobe of Alzheimer’s patients. In: Clementi F, Gotti C, Sher E (eds) Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the nervous system. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 367–378Google Scholar
- Guy W (1976) Clinical global impressions. ECDEU assessment manual for psychopharmacology, revised edn. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Rockville, pp 218–222Google Scholar
- Kelton MC, Kahn HJ, Conrath CL, Newhouse PA (2000) The effects of nicotine on Parkinson’s disease. Brain Cogn 43:274–282Google Scholar
- Levin ED, Rezvani AH (2001) Nicotinic involvement in cognitive function in rats. In: Levin ED (ed) Nicotine and the nervous system. Methods in neuroscience. CRC Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Levin E, Rezvani A (2002) The promise of nicotinic treatment for cognitive dysfunction. Curr Drug Targets 1:423–431Google Scholar
- Levin ED, Rose JE (1995) Acute and chronic nicotinic interactions with dopamine systems and working memory performance. In: Lajtha A, Abood L (eds) Functional diversity of interacting receptors. The New York Academy of Sciences, New York, pp 218–221Google Scholar
- Levin ED, Conners CK, Silva D, Canu W, March J (2001) Effects of chronic nicotine and methylphenidate in adults with ADHD. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 9:83–90Google Scholar
- Reeves D, Bleiberg J, Spector J (1993a) Validation of the ANAM battery in multi-center head injury rehabilitation studies. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 8:356Google Scholar
- Reeves D, Kane R, Winter K, Raynsford K, Pancella T (1993b) Automated neuropsychological assessment metrics (ANAM): test administrator’s guide, version 1.0. Missouri Institute of Mental Health, St. Louis, MOGoogle Scholar
- Rusted J, Graupner L, Oconnell N, Nicholls C (1994) Does nicotine improve cognitive function? Psychopharmacology 115:547–549Google Scholar
- Wilson AL, McCarten JR, Langley LK, Bauer T, Monley J, Rottunda S, McFalls E, Kovera C (1995b) Transdermal nicotine administration in Alzheimer’s disease: effects on cognition, behavior and cardiac function. In: Iqbal K, Mortimer JA, Winblad B, Wisniewski HM (eds) Research advances in alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., Chichester, pp 305–314Google Scholar