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Table 1 Brief overview of the Donepezil flight simulator study (DFSS)

From: Generating genius: how an Alzheimer’s drug became considered a ‘cognitive enhancer’ for healthy individuals

Background and methods In 2002, Yesavage et al. conducted a study on 18 pilots, aged 30–70 with a mean age of 52, who were split into placebo and control groups. The groups were randomized, and after seven 75 minute long practice tests on a flight simulator (where the baseline for the study was also calculated), the drug group was administered 5 mg of donepezil per day for 30 days. On day 30 both groups performed two more flight simulator tests. The primary outcome measure of the study was the change in flight score from the flights performed on day 30, when compared with those on day zero. Four different flight components were assessed during the flight simulations: communication, traffic avoidance, emergencies, and approach to landing.
Results and conclusions The results of the study state: “flight performance of the pilots in the donepezil group changed little from performance after the initial training to 30-day post-treatment… whereas it declined in pilots in the placebo group” (see Table 3 for a more detailed description of the results).