A drug often used to treat constipation may also improve cognition, boosting memory and thinking abilities, according to a new study released in Translational Psychiatry.
Drugs that show potential promise for boosting cognitive function target the 5-HT4 serotonin receptor. In the study, 44 participants aged 18 to 36 took part, with 23 given prucalopride and the remaining a placebo.
During their administration of either treatment, fMRI brain imaging was conducted and images were shown to the participants, with subsequent memory tests initiated.
“We tested whether short-term administration of the 5-HT4 partial agonist, prucalopride, modified behavioural and neural (fMRI) memory processing in 44 healthy human volunteers using an experimental medicine model,” the study’s authors explained in their journal release.
“We found that participants who had received six days of prucalopride treatment were significantly better at recalling previously seen neutral images and distinguishing them from new images,” the journal article states.
“At a neural level, prucalopride bilaterally increased hippocampal activity and activity in the right angular gyrus compared with placebo.”
The results of the study suggest that 5-HT4-receptor activation may improve cognition in humans, with the potential as a treatment target.