Psychopharmacology

, Volume 173, Issue 1–2, pp 49–56 | Cite as

Effects of nicotine chewing gum on a real-life motor task: a kinematic analysis of handwriting movements in smokers and non-smokers

Original Investigation

Abstract

Rationale

In laboratory tasks nicotine has consistently been shown to improve psychomotor performance.

Objectives

The aim of the present experiment was to assess the effects of nicotine on a skilled task of everyday life in smoking and non-smoking healthy adults.

Methods

Assessment of handwriting movements of 38 non-deprived smokers and 38 non-smokers was performed following the chewing of gum containing 0 mg, 2 mg or 4 mg of nicotine. A digitising tablet was used for the assessment of fine motor movements. Subjects were asked to perform a simple writing task. Movement time, velocity and acceleration of the handwriting movements were measured. Furthermore, every writing specimen was independently rated by two examiners regarding the quality of handwriting.

Results

Kinematic analysis of writing movements revealed that nicotine could produce absolute improvements in handwriting. Following nicotine administration, reduced movement times, increased velocities and more fluent handwriting movements were observed. These improvements were more striking in smokers than in non-smokers. No effects of nicotine were found with regard to the quality of handwriting.

Conclusion

The results suggest that nicotine can enhance psychomotor performance to a significant degree in a real-life motor task.

Keywords

Nicotine Human Handwriting Movement analysis Kinematic analysis 

References

  1. Clarke PBS, Pert A (1985) Autoradiographic evidence for nicotine receptors on nigrostriatal and mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons. Brain Res 348:355–358PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Clemens P, Baron JA, Coffey D, Reeves A (1995) The short-term effect of nicotine chewing gum in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Psychopharmacology 117:253–256PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, N.J.Google Scholar
  4. Dooijes EH (1983) Analysis of handwriting movements. Acta Psychol 54:99–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ebersbach G, Stöck M, Müller J, Wenning G, Wissel J, Poewe W (1999) Worsening of motor performance in patients with Parkinson’s disease following transdermal nicotine administration. Mov Disord 14:1011–1013CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Eichhorn TE, Gasser T, Mai N, Marquardt C, Arnold G, Schwarz J, Oertel WH (1996) Computational analysis of open loop handwriting movements in Parkinson’s disease: a rapid method to detect dopamimetic effects. Mov Disord 11:289–297PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Emre M, de Decker C (1992) Effects of cigarette smoking on motor functions in patients with multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol 49:1243–1247PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fagerström KO, Pomerlau O, Giordani B, Stelson F (1994) Nicotine may relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Psychopharmacology 116:117–119PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Feldman RS, Meyer JS, Quenzer LF (1997) Principles of neuropsychopharmacology. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  10. Frith CD (1967) The effects of nicotine on tapping: I. Life Sci 6:313–319CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ghatan PH, Ingvar M, Eriksson L, Stone ES, Serrander M, Ekberg K, Wahren J (1998) Cerebral effects of nicotine during cognition in smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology 136:179–189Google Scholar
  12. Ghez C (1991) Voluntary movement. In: Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, Jessel TM (eds) Principles of neural science. Elsevier Science Publishing, New York, pp 609–625Google Scholar
  13. Heishman SJ (1998) What aspects of human performance are truly enhanced by nicotine? Addiction 93:317–320PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Heishman SJ, Taylor RC, Henningfield JE (1994) Nicotine and smoking: a review of effects on human performance. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2:345–395Google Scholar
  15. Hindmarch I, Kerr JS, Sherwood N (1990) Effects of nicotine gum on psychomotor performance in smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology 100:535–541PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Houlihan ME, Pritchard WS, Robinson JH (1996) Faster P300 latency after smoking in visual but not auditory oddball tasks. Psychopharmacology 123:231–238Google Scholar
  17. Ishikawa A, Miyatake T (1991) Clinical features of autosomal recessive type juvenile parkinsonism and improvement of symptoms by smoking. In: Nagatsu T, Yoshida M (eds) Basic clinical and therapeutic aspects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Plenum Press, New York, pp 187–195Google Scholar
  18. Kassel JD (1997) Smoking and attention: a review and reformulation of the stimulus-filter hypothesis. Clin Psychol Rev 17:451–478CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kerr JS, Sherwood N, Hindmarch I (1991) Separate and combined effects of the social drugs on psychomotor performance. Psychopharmacology 104:113–119PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. LeHouezec J (1998) Nicotine: abused substance and therapeutic agent. J Psychiatr Neurosci 23:95–108Google Scholar
  21. LeHouezec J, Halliday R, Benowitz NL, Callaway E, Naylor H, Herzog K (1994) A low dose of subcutaneous nicotine improves information processing in non-smokers. Psychopharmacology 114:628–634PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Levin ED, Conners CK, Sparrow E, Hinton SC, Erhardt D, Meck WH, Rose JE, March J (1996) Nicotine effects on adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Psychopharmacology 123:55–63PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Levin ED, Conners CK, Silva D, Hinton SC, Meck WH, March J, Rose JE (1998) Transdermal nicotine effects on attention. Psychopharmacology 140:135–141PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. London ED, Grant SJ, Morgan MJ, Zukin SR (1996) Neurobiology of drug abuse. In: Fogel BS, Schiffer RB, Rao JM (eds) Neuropsychiatry. Wiliam & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp 635–678Google Scholar
  25. Maarse FJ, Thomassen AJ (1983) Produced and perceived writing slant: difference between up and down strokes. Acta Psychol 54:131–147Google Scholar
  26. Mai N, Marquardt C (1992) CS—Computer-assisted movement analysis in handwriting. Operational manual. MedCom Verlag, MunichGoogle Scholar
  27. Mancuso G, Warburton DM, Mélen M, Sherwood N, Tirelli E (1999) Selective effects of nicotine on attentional processes. Psychopharmacology 146:199–204Google Scholar
  28. Marquardt C, Mai N (1994) A computational procedure for movement analysis in handwriting. J Neurosci Meth 52:39–45PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Martin BJ, Gaddis GM (1981) Exercise after sleep deprivation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 13:220–223PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Näätänen R (1992) Attention and brain function. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, N.J.Google Scholar
  31. Oliveira RM, Gurd JM, Nixon P, Marshall JC, Passingham RE (1997) Micrographia in Parkinson’s disease: the effect of providing external cues. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 63:429–433PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Perkins KA, Epstein LH, Stiller RL, Sexton JE, Debski TD, Jakob RG (1990) Behavioral performance effects of nicotine in smokers and nonsmokers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 37:11–15PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Perkins KA, Grobe JE, Fonte C, Goettler J, Caggiula AR, Reynolds WA, Stiller RL, Scierka A, Jacob RG (1994) Chronic and acute tolerance to subjective, behavioral and cardiovascular effects of nicotine in humans. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 270:628–638PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Perkins KA, Grobe JE, Mitchell SE, Goettler J, Caggiula A, Stiller RL, Scierka A (1995) Acute tolerance to nicotine in smokers: lack of dissipation within 2 hours. Psychophamacology 118:164–170Google Scholar
  35. Pich EM, Pagliusi SR, Tessari M, Talabot-Ayer D, Van Huijsduijnen RH, Chiamulera C (1997) Common neural substrates for the addictive properties of nicotine and cocaine. Science 275:83–86PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Pritchard WS, Robinson JH, Guy TD (1992) Enhancement of continuous performance task reaction time by smoking in non-deprived smokers. Psychopharmacology 108:437–442PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Provost SC, Woodward R (1991) Effects of nicotine gum on repeated administration of the Stroop test. Psychophamacology 104:536–540Google Scholar
  38. Rezvani AH, Levin ED (2001) Cognitive effects of nicotine. Biol Psychiatry 49:258–267PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Sanberg PR, Silver AA, Shytle RD, Philipp MK, Cahill DW, Fogelson HM, McConville BJ (1997) Nicotine for the treatment of Tourette’s syndrome. Pharmacol Ther 74:21–25CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Sherwood N (1993) Effects of nicotine on human psychomotor performance. Hum Psychopharmacol 8:155–184Google Scholar
  41. Sherwood N (1994) Cognitive and psychomotor effects of nicotine and cigarette smoking. In: Ogdon MW, Burton HR, Renfro LW (eds) Recent Advances in Tobacco Science 20:81–105Google Scholar
  42. Silver AA, Shytle RD, Philipp MK, Wilkinson BJ, McConville B, Sanberg PR (2001) Transdermal nicotine and haloperidol in Tourette’s disorder: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Clin Psychiatry 62:707–714PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Slavin MJ, Phillips JG, Bradshaw JL, Hall KA, Presnell I (1999) Consistency of handwriting movements in dementia of the Alzheimer’s type: a comparison with Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 5:20–25PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Teulings HL, Contreras-Vidal J, Stelmach GE, Adler CH (1997) Parkinsonism reduces coordination of fingers, wrist and arm in fine motor control. Exp Neurol 146:159–170PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Thomassen AJ, Teulings HL (1983) Constancy in stationary and progressive handwriting. Acta Psychol 54:179–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tucha O, Lange KW (2001) Effects of methylphenidate on kinematic aspects of handwriting in hyperactive boys. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:351–356CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Tucha O, Aschenbrenner S, Lange KW (2000) Mirror writing and handedness. Brain Lang 73:432–441PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Tucha O, Paul G, Lange KW (2001) The effect of conscious control on handwriting fluency of healthy adults and children. In: Meulenbroek RG, Steenbergen B (eds) Proceedings of the tenth biennial conference of the International Graphonomics Society. IGS, Nijmegen, pp 213–216Google Scholar
  49. Tucha O, Aschenbrenner S, Eichhammer P, Putzhammer A, Sartor H, Klein HE, Lange KW (2002) The impact of tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors on handwriting movements of patients with depression. Psychopharmacology 159:211–215CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Warburton DM (1989) The neuropsychopharmacology of smoking. Jpn J Psychopharmacol 9:245–256Google Scholar
  51. Warburton DM, Mancuso G (1998) Evaluation of the information processing and mood effects of a transdermal nicotine patch. Psychopharmacology 135:305–310PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Waters AJ, Sutton SR (2000) Direct and indirect effects of nicotine/smoking on cognition in humans. Addict Behav 25:29–43CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Webb WB, Kaufmann DA, Devy CM (1981) Sleep deprivation and physical fitness in young and older subjects. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 21:198–202PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Wesnes K, Warburton DM (1983) Smoking, nicotine and human performance. Pharmacol Ther 21:189–208PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. West R, Jarvis MJ (1986) Effects of nicotine on finger tapping rate in non-smokers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 25:727–731PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. White HK, Levin ED (1999) Four week nicotine skin patch treatment effects on cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s disease. Psychopharmacology 143:158–165PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

Personalised recommendations