Cognitive effects of exogenous melatonin administration in elderly persons: a pilot study

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Jul-Aug;12(4):432-6. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajgp.12.4.432.

Abstract

Objective: Given that circadian rhythm disruption is associated with impairments in cognitive performance similar to those found in age-related cognitive decline, the authors investigated whether exogenous melatonin administration would improve cognitive functioning in healthy elderly subjects.

Methods: This double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study assigned 26 healthy elderly subjects to receive either melatonin 1 mg or placebo nightly for 4 weeks. Participants completed a sleep questionnaire and a battery of cognitive tests at baseline and at 4 weeks.

Results: Melatonin administration improved reported morning "restedness" and sleep latency after nocturnal awakening, and also improved scores on the California Verbal Learning Test-interference subtest.

Conclusions: Melatonin administration at a dose of 1 mg nightly may be effective in improving certain aspects of cognitive functioning and subjective reports of sleep quality in elderly subjects. It may prove to be a useful therapeutic agent in the treatment of age-related cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / administration & dosage
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Melatonin