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Acute nicotine effects on auditory sensory memory in tacrine-treated and nontreated patients with Alzheimer's disease: an event-related potential study.

Author(s): Engeland C, Mahoney C, Mohr E, Ilivitsky V, Knott VJ

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada.

Publication date & source: 2002-05, Pharmacol Biochem Behav., 72(1-2):457-64.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Comparative Study ; Randomized Controlled Trial

The auditory mismatch negativity (MMN) event-related brain potential (ERP) reflects the storage of information in acoustic sensory memory. Thirteen patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 6 receiving treatment with the cholinesterase inhibitor, tacrine [tetrahydroaminoacridine (THA)], and 7 receiving no treatment, were administered 2 mg of nicotine polacrilex and placebo. MMNs were recorded with 1- and 3-s interstimulus intervals (ISIs) during pre- and post-placebo/nicotine administration. Amplitudes decreased from pre- to post-placebo recordings in nontreated patients but remained stable in THA-treated patients. Comparison of pre- and post-nicotine MMNs found amplitude increases with nicotine in nontreated but not in THA-treated patients. MMN latencies were shortened by nicotine in both treatment groups. These exploratory findings suggest that nicotine-improved strength of acoustic sensory memory traces and speed of acoustic sensory discrimination in AD are differentially affected by chronic tacrine treatment.

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