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Can J Psychiatry. 2004 Jul;49(7):439-53.

GABAergic function in Alzheimer's disease: evidence for dysfunction and potential as a therapeutic target for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Ontario.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by disruptions in multiple major neurotransmitters. While many studies have attempted to establish whether GABA is disrupted in AD patients, findings have varied. We review evidence for disruptions in GABA among patients with AD and suggest that the variable findings reflect subtypes of the disease that are possibly manifested clinically by differing behavioural symptoms. GABA, the major inhibitory neurotransmitter, has long been a target for anxiolytics, hypnotic sedatives, and anticonvulsants. We review the clinical use of GABAergic agents in treating persons with AD symptoms. While newer generation GABAergic medications are now available, they have yet to be evaluated among patients with AD.

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