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the effect of n-acetylcysteine (nac) on human cognition - a systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 01.07.2017, 00:00 authored by David SkvarcDavid Skvarc, Olivia DeanOlivia Dean, Linda ByrneLinda Byrne, Laura GrayLaura Gray, S Lane, M Lewis, Brisa Simoes Fernandes, Michael BerkMichael Berk, A Marriott
Oxidative stress, neuroinflammation and neurogenesis are commonly implicated as cognitive modulators across a range of disorders. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a glutathione precursor with potent antioxidant, pro-neurogenesis and anti-inflammatory properties and a favourable safety profile. A systematic review of the literature specifically examining the effect of NAC administration on human cognition revealed twelve suitable articles for inclusion: four examining Alzheimer's disease; three examining healthy participants; two examining physical trauma; one examining bipolar disorder, one examining schizophrenia, and one examining ketamine-induced psychosis. Heterogeneity of studies, insufficiently powered studies, infrequency of cognition as a primary outcome, heterogeneous methodologies, formulations, co-administered treatments, administration regimes, and assessment confounded the drawing of firm conclusions. The available data suggested statistically significant cognitive improvements following NAC treatment, though the paucity of NAC-specific research makes it difficult to determine if this effect is meaningful. While NAC may have a positive cognitive effect in a variety of contexts; larger, targeted studies are warranted, specifically evaluating its role in other clinical disorders with cognitive sequelae resulting from oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.

History

Journal

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews

Volume

78

Pagination

44 - 56

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

0149-7634

eISSN

1873-7528

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017 Elsevier