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Cognitive Effects of Exogenous Melatonin Administration in Elderly Persons *

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.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 01-01-2008