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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 59 (2017) 9, 559 - 563

Short report

Lithium and its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease

S.M. Wittenberg, K.A. Toxopeus, P.F.J. Schulte

background Lithium is associated with adverse effects on cognitive functioning. However, there are published trials that have investigated the protective effects of lithium in cognitive decline.
aim To review studies that investigate the potentially protective effects of lithium on cognitive disorders.
method We studied English-language and Dutch reports on controlled, clinical trials published up to October 2016.
results We found four relevant articles. Two studies indicated that cognitive functioning remained more stable when patients were given lithium than when they were given a placebo. One study, however, could not detect any difference between the effects of lithium and the effects of placebos. The fourth study, which examined patients' ability to tolerate lithium, could not find any difference in the cognitive functioning of patients.
conclusion The reported results indicate that the cognitive functioning of patients with pre-stage Alzheimer’s disease remains more stable after patients have taken lithium than after they have taken a placebo.

keywords Alzheimer's disease, cognitive functioning, lithium