OTC drugs implicated in cognition testing

So-called anticholinergic drugs, easily available treatments widely known by trade names associated with treatments for sleep disorder, hypertension, heart disease and COPD, have been linked with cognitive impairment and a higher risk of developing dementia, according to research concluded at the Indiana University School of Medicine. As reported on the CNN website, study subjects were assessed on a range of memory and cognitive tests and, with the aid of PET and MRI imaging technology, they were scored for impact on brain structure and metabolism.

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It was determined that research subjects who had been taking the anticholinergic drugs performed worse on short-term memory tests while also exhibiting lower levels of glucose metabolism in the brain overall and, markedly, within the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s.

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