Earlier studies of cognitive event-related brain potentials (ERPs) reporting diminished amplitudes and delayed latencies of the P300 potential in dementia of the Alzheimer type (DAT), together with independent findings of the P300- and performance-enhancing properties of nicotine in normal adults, stimulated this study to explore the single-dose effects of nicotine on auditory and visual P300s in DAT. Thirteen patients, 6 currently receiving treatment with the cholinesterase inhibitor tacrine (tetrahydroaminoacridine; THA) and the remaining being medication free, were administered 2 mg of nicotine polacrilex under double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled conditions. Prior to nicotine administration, THA-treated patients exhibited shorter auditory P300 latencies than non-treated patients. Acutely administered nicotine failed to alter auditory P300, but increased the amplitudes of visual P300s in both DAT patient groups. Neither THA treatment nor single-dose nicotine altered behavioural performance in the visual and auditory task paradigms. The results are discussed in relation to nicotinic cholinergic, attentional and cognitive processes in DAT.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry