Aim: The purpose of the study was an assessment of cognitive functions in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer Disease (AD) treated with piracetam in doses 2400 mg a day or 4800 mg a day for six months.
Methods: Twenty MCI patients, 21 patients with AD and 20 healthy persons matched for gender, age and education were recruited. The Hamilton Depression Scale, 17-item version, was applied to control for depression. Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) assisted as a measure of global cognitive functioning. Neuropsychological assessment was done with the Verbal Fluency Test, the Clock Drawing Test and the Digit Span Test (forward and backward).
Results: MCI patients and AD patients performed significantly worse than control subjects on all cognitive tests. MCI patients had better results on all cognitive tests, except for backward digit span, as compared to AD patients. The neuropsychological performance of MCI patients was significantly better in those treated with daily dose of piracetam 4800 mg in comparison to those treated with 2400 mg of piracetam daily. Higher dose of piracetam correlated with better performance on all cognitive tests in patients with MCI and in AD patients such correlation was present with the MMSE score and with results of the Verbal Fluency Test.
Conclusions: Significant cognitive dysfunctions in MCI patients were observed. Working memory deficits in MCI patients are similar to the deficits in AD patients. Piracetam may be one of the therapeutic options in ameliorating cognitive abnormalities in MCI patients particularly in higher daily doses.