Scopolamine hydrobromide was administered intravenously to 23 normal subjects (40-89 years) in doses of 0.1 mg, 0.25 mg, and 0.5 mg, in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, random-order fashion. The effects of scopolamine, as compared to placebo, were assessed using a comprehensive cognitive test battery, as well as behavioral and physiological measures. Scopolamine produced the expected dose-dependent impairments in most of the cognitive functions assessed. Behavioral and physiological measures were also affected, but only minimally. More importantly, there was a significant overall correlation between age and scopolamine-impaired performances on psychomotor speed, short-term recall, visual tracking speed, visuo-motor coordination, and sequencing ability. There was, however, some inter-individual variability in this phenomenon. The results provide further evidence that cholinergically mediated cognitive functions show an increased sensitivity to scopolamine with age, albeit with heterogeneity that bears further investigation.
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