Koller, G.; Satzger, W.; Adam, M.; Wagner, M.; Kathmann, N.; Soyka, Michael; Engel, R.
Effects of scopolamine on matching to sample paradigm and related tests in human subjects.
In: Neuropsychobiology, No. 2: pp. 87-94
This was a double-blind placebo-controlled study with a cross-over design to examine the effects of scopolamine on cognitive functions in young healthy subjects. Scopolamine hydrobromide was administered subcutaneously to 12 subjects (mean +/- SD age 23.8 +/- 2.2 years) at doses of 0.3 and 0.6 mg in comparison with two placebo conditions. Scopolamine at both doses produced marked sedation as rated by subjects and an observer. In the continuous performance test, vigilance was impaired by both doses of scopolamine. The span of apprehension test showed differing results (only the high dose of scopolamine showed a performance decrement only in the three-character version of the span of apprehension test). Significant impairment by both doses of scopolamine was seen in immediate and delayed free recall, continuous visual recognition, running word recognition and running picture recognition. While scopolamine caused a significant slowing in average reaction times for simultaneous matching as well as for delayed matching, subjects made more errors under scopolamine compared to placebo only in delayed matching, not in simultaneous matching. Also, the main outcome of matching to sample showed significant effects only in delayed matching, not in simultaneous matching. Notable in this study is the incongruity between the simultaneous matching test and the span of apprehension test on the one hand and the other cognitive tests used on the other. These results demonstrated that scopolamine has a greater effect on memory than on attention. Thus, the scopolamine-induced effects in the present study seem to be more relevant to Alzheimer's disease in an advanced phase than to normal aging. Copyright (C) 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel.