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Possible therapeutic value of melatonin in mild cognitive impairment: a retrospective study

Authors

  • Analía M. Furio,

    1. Departmento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Instituto de Neurosciencias Aplicadas, Hospital de Clinicas “José de San Martín”, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • Luis I. Brusco,

    1. Departmento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Instituto de Neurosciencias Aplicadas, Hospital de Clinicas “José de San Martín”, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • D. P. Cardinali

    1. Departmento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and Instituto de Neurosciencias Aplicadas, Hospital de Clinicas “José de San Martín”, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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Address reprint requests to Dr Daniel P. Cardinali, Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, UBA, Paraguay 2155, 1121 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
E-mail: dcardinali@fmed.uba.ar

Abstract

Abstract:  Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an etiologically heterogeneous syndrome characterized by cognitive impairment preceding dementia. Approximately 12% of MCI patients convert to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementia disorders every year. In the present report we retrospectively examined the initial and final neuropsychological assessment of 50 MCI outpatients, 25 of whom had received daily 3–9 mg of a fast-release melatonin preparation p.o. at bedtime for 9–18 months. Melatonin was given in addition to the standard medication prescribed by the attending psychiatrist. Patients treated with melatonin showed significantly better performance in Mini Mental State Examination and the cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale. After application of a battery of neuropsychological tests including Mattis’ test, Digit-symbol test, Trail A and B tasks and the Rey’s verbal test, better performance was found in melatonin-treated patients, except for the Digit-symbol test score which remained unchanged. Abnormally high Beck Depression Inventory scores decreased in melatonin-treated patients, concomitantly with an improvement in wakefulness and sleep quality. The results suggest that melatonin can be a useful add-on drug for treating MCI in a clinical setting.

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