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Divided attention-enhancing effects of AF102B and THA in aging monkeys

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 The effects of cholinergic drugs proposed for treatment of cognitive impairment in normal aging and dementia on divided attention have been little studied in non-human primates. We tested the hypothesis that cholinergic drugs improve spatial divided attention in primates via a computer task requiring simultaneous tracking of two visual targets in three young and two aged healthy bonnet macaques. Task accuracy (number of correct responses) and reaction time (RT) were measured 2 h after administration of either the m1 agonist ±-cis–2-meth- yl-spiro(1,3-oxathiolane-5,3′)quinuclidine (AF102B; 0.1– 2.1 mg/kg IM) or the cholinesterase inhibitor 9-amino-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroamino-acridine (THA; 0.5–2.0 mg/kg orally). Accuracy increased for four of five monkeys at appropriate doses of one or both cholinomimetics, accompanied in two monkeys by a drop in RT. Responses were less uniform to THA than to AF102B. For the five-monkey group at Best dose, accuracy increased 34% (THA) or 43% (AF102B) above baseline (P<0.05 for both drugs), respectively, with no significant change in RT and with minimal untoward effects. Cholinotherapy may improve divided attention in young and aged healthy primates.

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Received: 29 December 1997 / Final version: 13 August 1998

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O’Neill, J., Fitten, L., Siembieda, D. et al. Divided attention-enhancing effects of AF102B and THA in aging monkeys. Psychopharmacology 143, 123–130 (1999).

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