Selective effect of lithium on cognitive performance in man.
Glue PW., Nutt DJ., Cowen PJ., Broadbent D.
The effects of lithium on psychomotor performance were examined in six healthy male volunteers (aged 26-31 years) and compared with those of a similar control population. Three computerised psychomotor tests (serial reaction time, semantic reasoning and syntatic reasoning) were administered before lithium, after 5 and 22 days of lithium carbonate (800 mg/d) and 4 days and 1 month after stopping the lithium. The only significant effect was an impairment of semantic reasoning during the chronic (22 day) test. This suggests a selective effect of lithium on associative mental tasks and may explain the subjects' experience of slowing in recall of object names whilst taking lithium.