Objective: To test the verbal memory of older volunteers given citicoline.
Design: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group design was employed in the initial study. After data analysis, a subgroup was identified whose members had relatively inefficient memories. These subjects were recruited for a second study that used a crossover design. The subjects took either placebo or citicoline, 1000 mg/d, for 3 months in the initial study. In the crossover study, subjects took both placebo and citicoline, 2000 mg/d, each for 2 months.
Subjects: The subjects were 47 female and 48 male volunteers 50 to 85 years old. They were screened for dementia, memory disorders, and other neurological problems. Of the subjects with relatively inefficient memories, 32 participated in the crossover study.
Main outcome measure: Verbal memory was tested at each study visit using a logical memory passage. Plasma choline concentrations were measured at baseline; at days 30, 60, and 90 in the initial study; and at day 60 of each treatment condition in the crossover study. Plasma choline concentrations and memory scores were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance and covariance, followed by planned comparisons when appropriate.
Results: In the initial study, citicoline therapy improved delayed recall on logical memory only for the subjects with relatively inefficient memories. In the crossover study, the higher dosage of citicoline was clearly associated with improved immediate and delayed logical memory.
Conclusions: Citicoline therapy improved verbal memory functioning in older individuals with relatively inefficient memories. Citicoline may prove effective in treating age-related cognitive decline that may be the precursor of dementia.