Effects of Transdermal Scopolamine on Auditory-Monitoring Performance and Event-Related Potentials.
NAVAL AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB PENSACOLA FL
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Patch-administered, transdermal scopolamine is sometimes used to reduce the symptoms of motion sickness in aviators. The drugs side effects on attention and memory, however, have led to concern that the drug might compromise the abilities of those it was meant to help. The study described here examined the effects of transdermal scopolamine on performance and event-related potentials ERPs in an auditory-monitoring task. The scopolamine treatment yielded a small reduction in the discriminability of acoustic targets. Reaction times did not change significantly. Effects of the treatment were noticeable in concurrently recorded ERPs within 300 ms of the onsets of acoustic stimuli. The data were consistent with previous studies indicating that scopolamine affects attentional processes. The present results suggest that scopolamines effects may be expressed quite early in the course of perceptual processing. Although the effects observed here were small, the drug nonetheless should be prescribed with caution, particularly in high-workload situations in which minor failures of attention could substantially increase probabilities of operator error. Scopolamine, Human performance, Event-related potentials.
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