Memory and cognitive functions are known to decline with advancing age. Studies have suggested that this may be due to a decrease in cholinergic function in the brains of elderly people. This review aims to assess studies documented in the literature dealing with the 'scopolamine model' of dementia.Methods
Sources included MedLine searches from the last 10 years (search for 'scopolamine model', 'dementia', 'electroencephalogram', 'cognition') and references from original and review articles. The aim was to include human and animal studies occupying the cholinergic hypothesis in cognitive dysfunction. Electroencephalographic (EEG) and cognition findings were considered.Results
Scopolamine influences delta, theta, alpha and beta activity in EEG and partially mimics the EEG changes found in patients with senile dementia or dementia of the Alzheimer type. Effects on different cognitive functions have been extensively documented.Conclusion
Scopolamine produces similar memory deficits seen in the elderly, but the drug cannot induce the full range of deficits seen in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Various aspects of memory were unaffected by scopolamine administration. Memory improvements in elderly subjects can be achieved after cholinergic stimulation.