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Nicotinic stimulation in two populations: aircraft pilots and dementia patients

Our previous studies in a professional flight simulator have demonstrated a positive effect of nicotine on a complex cognitive task, flying an aircraft. This effect may be mediated by working memory or attentional processes, in addition to direct effects on sort-term and long-term memory. Similar data exist for galantamine's nicotinic effects in vivo and in vitro. In a similar manner to the effects of nicotine on aircraft pilots, galantamine's effects might lead to specific improvements attention, which is suggested by its having positive effects on severely affected Alzheimer's patients who memory function is virtually absent. Data also exist suggestion a neuroprotective effect of galantamine, however studies suggesting this effect have been limited to one year duration. Future studies of such compounds should focus on their effects on attention and neuroprotection longitudinally across all levels of Alzheimer's pathology.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Yesavage, J. Nicotinic stimulation in two populations: aircraft pilots and dementia patients. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S76 (2008).

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