Psychopharmacology

, Volume 87, Issue 2, pp 247–249 | Cite as

Scopolamine challenges in Alzheimer's disease

  • Trey Sunderland
  • Pierre Tariot
  • Dennis L. Murphy
  • Herbert Weingartner
  • Edward A. Mueller
  • Robert M. Cohen
Rapid Communication

Abstract

A challenge paradigm was designed to test the functional sensitivity to anticholinergic agents in Alzheimer's disease. Ten patients with dementia of the Alzheimer type were serially administered three different intravenous doses of the centrally active anticholinergic drug scopolamine and placebo. Testing was carried out in a placebo-controlled, double-blind fashion to measure cognitive, physiologic and behavioral changes. Alzheimer patients showed a marked, dose-related behavioral and cognitive sensitivity to temporary cholinergic blockade. Scopolamine testing may serve as an index of the status of central cholinergic functional integrity, and ultimately may prove useful as a diagnostic or staging test in the evaluation of the cholinergic system in dementia. Research is currently under way with elderly age-matched controls and populations with other neuropsychiatric disorders to explore this hypothesis further.

Key words

Alzheimer's disease Scopolamine Cholinergic system Cholinergic sensitivity 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trey Sunderland
    • 1
  • Pierre Tariot
    • 1
  • Dennis L. Murphy
    • 1
  • Herbert Weingartner
    • 2
  • Edward A. Mueller
    • 1
  • Robert M. Cohen
    • 3
  1. 1.Section on Clinical Neuropharmacology, Laboratory of Clinical ScienceNational Institute of Mental Health, NIH Clinical Center-10/3 D41BethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Psychology and PsychopathologyNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Section on Clinical Brain Imaging, Laboratory of Cerebral MetabolismNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA

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