Promoting Vigilance in Older People: Comparative Pharmaco-EEG and Psychometric Studies with Nicergoline by Oral and Intramuscular Administration

  • B. Saletu
  • J. Grünberger


Earlier clinical-pharmacological investigations with nicergoline — an ergot-alkaloid with a haemodynamic action which activates metabolic processes and inhibits platelet aggregation — showed that in ageing subjects this preparation brought about significant changes in cerebral activity by comparison with placebo after both acute and chronic administration [22, 23, 4]. On computer-assisted spectral-analyses of electroencephalograms (EEG) these were seen as a reduction in slow delta- and theta-activities and an increase in alpha- and alpha- related beta-activities, and are of interest in that they seem to be precisely the opposite of age-induced EEG-changes. Various investigators [10–12, 21, 25, 32] have described increases in slow activities and decreases in alpha- and alpha-related beta-activities with advancing age. These EEG-features characteristic of old age are seen even more distinctly in organic brain syndromes of varying aetiology [20, 21, 25, 2], and represent deficits in the systems which regulate vigilance. The term “vigilance” is used to describe the dynamic state of the total neural activity which determines the availability and degree of organisation of our adaptive behaviour. Since the EEG is a direct expression of the neuronal mass activity and its patterns reflect the order of its dynamic states [23], according to Kanowski [8], the demonstration of EEG-changes should be required for all geriatric preparations which claim to influence cerebral metabolism in any way.


Ergot Alkaloid Alpha Activity Beta Activity Slow Activity Moderate Tiredness 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Saletu
  • J. Grünberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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