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June 1983

Effect of Anticholinergics on Memory in Parkinson's Disease

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles, CA 90024 and Wadsworth Veterans Administration Medical Center Los Angeles

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(6):390. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04050060090021

To the Editor.  —We read with interest the recent paper by Sadeh and colleagues (Archives 1982;39:666-667). Although they did not refer to our study, their results supported our published findings on the effect of anticholinergic drugs on memory in patients with Parkinson's disease.1 We specifically compared the effects of therapeutic doses of the anticholinergic benztropine mesylate v a placebo, in a double-blind, crossover study. We found that administration of benztropine for a ten-week period resulted in a statistically significant impairment of delayed recall of verbal material. No significant effects were found in immediate recall (digit span forward or backward) or performance on Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices or the Symbol Digit Modalities Test. We found no significant relationship between the adverse memory effect and the positive therapeutic effect of the anticholinergic drug on parkinsonian symptoms.Although the experimental findings of both studies are very suggestive of a specific adverse CNS

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