The Treatment of Memory Deficits in the Aged with Choline Chloride
Various lines of evidence suggest that as the brain ages there is a decrement in central cholinergic activity. An age-related decrease in the activity of brain choline acetyltransferase (CAT) in humans has been reported (McGeer and McGeer, 1976). These results parallel animal findings (Hollander and Barrows, 1968; Vernadakis, 1973; Meek et al., 1977). Since CAT has been taken as a marker of cholinergic neurons, these data indicate a loss of cholinergic neurons with increasing age (Kuhar, 1976). Muscarinic receptor binding has also been reported to diminish with age (White et al., 1977). Thus both pre-synaptic and post-synaptic cholinergic degeneration may occur in the process of normal aging. Preliminary studies of patients with Alzheimer’s disease have also found decreased CAT activity and muscarinic receptor binding (Davies and Maloney, 1976; Perry et al., 1977; White et al., 1977; Yamamura, personal communication). The extent of these changes in central cholinergic neurons is greater in patients with Alzheimer’s disease than normal age matched controls.
KeywordsPlacebo Depression Tyrosine Dementia Serotonin
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