Atropine Slows Human Electroencephalograms and Disrupts Performance
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Atropine is a commonly used antidote for anticholinesterase nerve gas agents. Its administration, however, impairs vision, memory, performance and cognition. In humans, atropine increases scores on scales which measure drug-induced sedation and a few subjects reported euphoria and drug liking. The purpose of these experiments was to identify changes in the spontaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) that accompany the administration of atropine to subjects given dosages apt to prevail in military situations. Seven male volunteers were given each dose of atropine on two occasions and a single placebo (saline) in a randomly assigned order of a crossover double-blind experiment. Two-minute samples of EEG were obtained while the subjects relaxed with eyes closed. The samples were obtained prior to the intramuscular administration of drug, and at 2 and 6 hours after the drug. The EEG was digitized (256 Hz) and subjected to on-line Fast Fourier Transform. The total power and peak frequency in the following clinical EEG bands were analyzed by analysis of variance techniques.