Event Abstract

The effect of a standardised Chinese herbal medicine formula (Sailuotong) on N1, PN, P2, MMN, P3a, and P3b amplitudes: a pilot study

  • 1 University of Wollongong, Centre for Psychophysics, Psychophysiology, and Psychopharmacology, Australia
  • 2 University of Western Sydney, The National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Australia
  • 3 Swinburne University of Technology, Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Australia

Aims: A recent human trial has demonstrated that Sailuotong (SLT), a standardised Chinese herbal medicine formula, significantly improved Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog) scores and increased cerebral blood flow (relative to placebo) in participants with probable or possible vascular dementia. The current pilot study aimed to test whether SLT can act as a cognitive enhancer in a healthy population. Method: Sixteen healthy adults participated in this randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover design pilot study. The participants were randomised to receive either SLT or placebo for 1 week, and then switched to the other treatment after a 7 day washout period. Before and after each treatment, participants completed a computerised neurocognitive test battery (Compass), and had their EEG activity recorded whilst completing two oddball tasks (auditory and visual). EOG-corrected ERPs from 18 scalp sites were submitted to a temporal PCA with Varimax rotation. Results: Visuospatial short-term memory (Corsi Block Span) and working memory (N-Back) showed improvements from baseline to post-treatment with SLT (compared to placebo) that approached significance. In the auditory oddball task, fronto-central MMN (264 ms), frontal P3a (348 ms), and parietal P3b (412 ms), and in the visual oddball task, temporo-parietal Processing Negativity (PN; 168 ms), central Mismatch Negativity (MMN; 252 ms), and centro-parietal P3b (420 ms) were all larger to targets than nontargets. For auditory P3a, the target enhancement was largest after SLT in comparison to placebo (from baseline to post-treatment); this effect approached significance. Conclusions: Though the effects were small, SLT enhanced visuospatial short-term memory and working memory. Importantly, SLT also increased auditory P3a amplitude, a neural correlate of working memory processes. Findings are consistent with previous research, and suggest that SLT could potentially improve memory function in healthy volunteers, however, a larger sample size is needed to demonstrate this.


Chang D, Colagiuri B, Luo R (2013). Chinese medicine used to treat dementia. In: Advances in Natural Medicines, Nutraceuticals and Neurocognition, Stough and Scholey (eds). CRC Press.

Keywords: event-related potentials (ERPs), oddball paradigm, P3(00), N1, Processing Negativity (PN), P2, MMN (Mismatch negativity), P3a, P3b, Cognitive Function, Complementary medicine, Chinese medicine

Conference: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc, Coffs Harbour, Australia, 26 Nov - 28 Nov, 2014.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Psychophysiology

Citation: Steiner GZ, Yueng A, Camfield DA, De Blasio FM, Pipingas A, Scholey AB, Stough C and Chang DH (2014). The effect of a standardised Chinese herbal medicine formula (Sailuotong) on N1, PN, P2, MMN, P3a, and P3b amplitudes: a pilot study. Conference Abstract: Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Inc. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2014.216.00025

Copyright: The abstracts in this collection have not been subject to any Frontiers peer review or checks, and are not endorsed by Frontiers. They are made available through the Frontiers publishing platform as a service to conference organizers and presenters.

The copyright in the individual abstracts is owned by the author of each abstract or his/her employer unless otherwise stated.

Each abstract, as well as the collection of abstracts, are published under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 (attribution) licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) and may thus be reproduced, translated, adapted and be the subject of derivative works provided the authors and Frontiers are attributed.

For Frontiers’ terms and conditions please see https://www.frontiersin.org/legal/terms-and-conditions.

Received: 19 Oct 2014; Published Online: 02 Dec 2014.

* Correspondence: Ms. Genevieve Z Steiner, University of Wollongong, Centre for Psychophysics, Psychophysiology, and Psychopharmacology, Wollongong, NSW, Australia, G.Steiner@westernsydney.edu.au