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Alpha-7 nicotinic agonist improves cognition in schizophrenia
  1. Stephen R. Marder
  1. University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA; marder@ucla.edu

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ABSTRACT FROM: Keefe RS, Meltzer HA, Dgetluck N, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of encenicline, an α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, as a treatment for cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology 2015;40:3053–60.

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The cognitive impairments that are common in schizophrenia are associated with impairments across multiple domains, including attention/vigilance, verbal learning and memory, executive functioning, verbal fluency, and speed of processing. As a result, they are targets for drug development. There is a clear need for pharmacological agents that target cognitive impairment in schizophrenia for which there are currently no approved medications. The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (α7 receptors) have been shown to play an important role in cognition in animals and humans. Encenicline is an agonist exhibiting priming behaviour at the α7 receptor by potentiating the response to the natural agonist acetylcholine (ACh). Encenicline may work as a neuromodulator, with its impact on cognition mediated in part by modulating multiple …

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