Saccade and cognitive impairment associated with Kava-kava intoxication

Discussion in 'Kava-Kava' started by Bajeda, May 13, 2007.

  1. Bajeda

    Bajeda Super Moderator Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Description: 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.

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