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December 1990

Effects of Physostigmine on Spatial Attention in Patients With Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Author Affiliations

From the Section on Visual Behavior, Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute (Drs Kertzman and Robinson), and the Experimental Therapeutics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (Dr Litvan), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Neurol. 1990;47(12):1346-1350. doi:10.1001/archneur.1990.00530120092016

• We tested patients with progressive supranuclear palsy and control subjects on a task of visuospatial attention. Targets preceded by cues on the same side were termed validly cued; and those on the opposite side, invalidly cued. For all subjects, validly cued targets were responded to faster than those that were invalidly cued. The difference between reaction times for invalidly and validly cued targets, which is hypothesized to measure attentional movement, was significantly increased for the patients. The performance of the controls on certain neuropsychological tests was correlated with their attentional ability. These correlations were altered by progressive supranuclear palsy. Physostigmine treatment of the patients induced a speeding of responses to invalidly cued targets as a function of the duration of the disease. These studies show defects in cognition and attention in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy and demonstrate that physostigmine reduces some of the abnormal visual attentional performance.