Saccade and cognitive impairment associated with kava intoxication

Cairney, Sheree, Maruff, Paul, Clough, Alan R., Collie, Alex, Currie, Jon, and Currie, Bart J. (2003) Saccade and cognitive impairment associated with kava intoxication. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 18 (7). pp. 525-33.

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Kava is an extract from the Piper methysticum Forst. f. plant that has social and spiritual importance in Pacific islands societies. Herbal remedies that contain kava are used for the psychiatric treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Laboratory studies have found only subtle, if any, changes on cognitive or motor functions from the acute effects of consuming small clinical doses of kava products. Intoxication from recreational doses of kava has not been studied. The performance of individuals intoxicated from drinking kava (n=11) was compared with a control group (n=17) using saccade and cognitive tests. On average, intoxicated individuals had consumed 205 g of kava powder each (approximately 150 times clinical doses) in a group session that went for 14.4 h and ended 8 h prior to testing. Intoxicated kava drinkers showed ataxia, tremors, sedation, blepharospasm and elevated liver enzymes (GGT and ALP), together with saccadic dysmetria, saccadic slowing and reduced accuracy performing a visual search task that only became evident as the task complexity increased. Kava intoxication is characterized by specific abnormalities of movement coordination and visual attention but normal performance of complex cognitive functions. Saccade abnormalities suggest disruption of cerebellar and GABAergic functions.

Item ID: 44900
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-1077
Keywords: Piper methysticum; kava; intoxication; cognitive; saccade
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 00:24
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health @ 60%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920399 Indigenous Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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