- Lebedev, Alexander V., et al.
Effects of daily L-dopa administration on learning and brain structure in older adults undergoing cognitive training : a randomised clinical trial
Ingår i: Scientific Reports. - 2045-2322 .- 2045-2322. ; 10
- Cognitive aging creates major individual and societal burden, motivating search for treatment and preventive care strategies. Behavioural interventions can improve cognitive performance in older age, but effects are small. Basic research has implicated dopaminergic signalling in plasticity. We investigated whether supplementation with the dopamine-precursor L-dopa improves effects of cognitive training on performance. Sixty-three participants for this randomised, parallel-group, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial were recruited via newspaper advertisements. Inclusion criteria were: age of 65–75 years, Mini-Mental State Examination score >25, absence of serious medical conditions. Eligible subjects were randomly allocated to either receive 100/25 mg L-dopa/benserazide (n = 32) or placebo (n = 31) prior to each of twenty cognitive training sessions administered during a four-week period. Participants and staff were blinded to group assignment. Primary outcomes were latent variables of spatial and verbal fluid intelligence. Compared to the placebo group, subjects receiving L-dopa improved less in spatial intelligence (−0.267 SDs; 95%CI [−0.498, −0.036]; p = 0.024). Change in verbal intelligence did not significantly differ between the groups (−0.081 SDs, 95%CI [−0.242, 0.080]; p = 0.323). Subjects receiving L-dopa also progressed slower through the training and the groups displayed differential volumetric changes in the midbrain. No statistically significant differences were found for the secondary cognitive outcomes. Adverse events occurred for 10 (31%) and 7 (23%) participants in the active and control groups, correspondingly. The results speak against early pharmacological interventions in older healthy adults to improve broader cognitive functions by targeting the dopaminergic system and provide no support for learning-enhancing properties of L-dopa supplements in the healthy elderly. The findings warrant closer investigation about the cognitive effects of early dopamine-replacement therapy in neurological disorders. This trial was preregistered at the European Clinical Trial Registry, EudraCT#2016-000891-54 (2016-10-05).