Age-related decline in central cholinergic function demonstrated with scopolamine

Pierre N. Tariot, Shirish V. Patel, Christopher Cox, Robin E. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Scopolamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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