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Thoughts on Nootropics?

  1. Jun 22, 2013 #1
    I had a guy recently ask me how he can become more disciplined. After I gave him some advice, I checked his history and he posted a lot to "Nootropics." A quick wiki search says it is used to treat "disorders as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and ADHD."

    Hopefully, you're not actually stupid enough to take these if you don't suffer from a disorder, but what do you guys think about the morality of it? Do you think it is comparable to steroids used in sports?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2013 #2
    Acedemia isn't a competition like a sport is. (At least, it shouldn't be lol) Thus it isn't that kind of a moral issue. The mortal issue would probably be, "Do you believe your body should be respected?" If you do, then you would not want to take substances that are harmful to your body.
  4. Jun 30, 2013 #3
    Here's the thing I've learned about "enhancement" drugs or just drugs altogether. It's simple: While there may be some real or imagined short term "enhancement" produced with (take your pick) drug, the long term (which doesn't take long) effect of using the drug FAR outweighs any of the putative benefits of it (except coffee :smile:) That's about all there really is to say about it. So, until they come out with a legitimate Soma of the Aldous Huxley variety (which I'm hoping comes soon :biggrin:), my advice is to do more jogging and drink more coffee for your "enhancement."
  5. Jul 3, 2013 #4
    You got two kinds of "nootropics".

    Medicine & supplements.

    For example, Piracetam is a drug prescribed for epilepsy, then they discovered it might be beneficial for Alzheimer, then they discovered it might be cognition-enhancing for healthy people as well.

    But in the USA, Piracetam was sold as a nutrition supplement till last year and most of those companies are pretty obscure.U got to check on the internet what kind of exotic medicines they sell as a supplement.Pyritinol, Centrophenoxine,they sell them like it's a supplement, I can't believe that every single company(pretty unknown companies, no pharma-giants) can make this complicated compounds, so I think it's a fraud.

    These are REAL medicines(Encephabol, Lucidril), yet some obscure sell them like it's a supplement.

    http://www.cognitivenutrition.com/ companies like this

    Then you got simple supplements or herbs, like Omega fatty acids, Creatine, Carnitine, Soy Lecithin, just your average multi-vitamines, Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, Bacopa, Ashwaghanda,L-Theanine.

    I think these are harmless.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2013
  6. Jul 3, 2013 #5
    A recent study indicated that working memory was a better indication than IQ for career success and recent research has implied it may be a relatively easy to produce drugs that increase memory significantly. If so the competition may be about to heat up as people with high IQs and poor working memory enter the job market. As neurological research continues to grow by leaps and bounds over the next couple of decades in particular I expect more obvious realizations to emerge about what it takes to compete in the job and how modern science can replace superstition, folk medicine, and popular modern misconceptions.
  7. Jul 3, 2013 #6
    Taking drugs to increase you're ability to retain information is not necessarily a good thing, unless perhaps you have a clinically diagnosed deficiency to do so. What we forget and our ability to forget are just as important to the efficient operation of our cognitive processes as is our ability to memorize certain things.
  8. Jul 3, 2013 #7
    You can increase your memory simply by eating certain foods and getting a good night's sleep. The idea it is somehow critical to let it all happen according to the whims of nature is as laughable as suggesting teens should have sex because that is what nature obviously intended.
  9. Jul 3, 2013 #8
    I don't even know how to respond to a comment like that other than to say, what do you have against nature? Nature is what you are. Nature is the reason you're even capable of crafting that laughable statement. Try letting your prose not respond to the whims of nature and let's see what kind of sentence you produce. Oh, and don't get me wrong, I'm all for a good night's sleep and good food, you can count on that :tongue:

    Edit: And what's wrong with teens having sex (as long as they're 18 :smile:)?
  10. Jul 3, 2013 #9
    If nature had its way I would have died at 13 when my appendix burst. Call me less than willing to trust her to do all the driving when it comes to my personal well being.
  11. Jul 3, 2013 #10


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    I'm sure this is going to get me flamed, but what's so "natural" about that magic number 18? Nature certainly never intended for people to wait till an arbitrary age before starting intercourse. The age of pubarche (onset of puberty) varies within a range. Even as a matter of human convention, the age of sexual majority differs wildly in different jurisdictions.

    If anything, your statement undermines your own point, really. You spoke in favour of "nature", but used almost a perfect example of a completely artificial human societal convention to make your point. Strange.

    (Sorry about this slightly off topic digression).
  12. Jul 3, 2013 #11
    Well, it was meant to be a little contradictory tongue-in-cheek politically correct humor so I didn't get flamed.
  13. Jul 3, 2013 #12


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    OK, then. :biggrin:
  14. Jul 3, 2013 #13
    I'm not making an argument against getting medical treatment or even using exogenous substances to try to enhance whatever you are trying to enhance. I've tried just about everything at one point or another in my life to "enhance" my state, physical and psychological. That is human nature (get it, nature?). In any case, my point is that I've found that none of it really works long term. Its not the solution. The solution is to center yourself, meditate, and utilize your natural endogenous chemistry to enhance your life. It's just a personal opinion based on my experience. Sometimes you will need medical attention, sometimes it does help to take an Advil or melatonin, or even something stronger. That's ok. But it should always be a last resort to introduce exogenous chemicals into your system. Not part of some overall "enhancement" program to better yourself. It won't work at best, at worst it can have disastrous consequences.
  15. Jul 3, 2013 #14
    One in ten Americans is on anti-depressants alone and you might as well spit into the wind on this one. If they find a relatively safe and effective method for boosting memory in today's cut-throat job market you can bet it will sell like hotcakes. The US is the wealthiest country in the world, but has the worst social problems and lowest social mobility in the developed world with an increasing poverty rate and 12 million illegal aliens competing with the poor for jobs. It's feast or famine time for many and if a simple pill can make the difference even for a year or two it is that much longer they have to keep feasting.
  16. Aug 2, 2013 #15
    Got a tip, I guess.

    There's a mushroom with a potent ability to induce neurogenesis by promoting NGF's.

    It's name is Lion's Mane and it's used in the Asian kitchen.
    There has been some research on this mushroom, search Pubmed + Hericium Erinaceus on Google.
    Never tried it myself however.
  17. Aug 2, 2013 #16
    I read an article which recommended modalfinile as an cognitive enhancement drug. Apparently it is more affective than other alternatives also it has no side effects -that is none that are known except a very rare allergic reaction. But acclimitization is really fast .
    But as For myself I have only tried digital brainwave entrainment, coffee (lots of it- along with green tea; it reduces anxitey) and meditation.
  18. Aug 2, 2013 #17
    Also the mozart effect....just For the placebo:rolleyes:
  19. Aug 2, 2013 #18
    Hey guys, I am very new to this site and hence not fully aware of this one. But still I think u people are discussing about issues related to memory enhancement and all. I dono much about this.but I have read that by yoga practice one can enhance his/her memory, concentration power, and ofcourse your brain and motor system co-ordination
  20. Aug 2, 2013 #19

    jim mcnamara

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    What posters mostly mostly doing in this thread is expounding opinions, gleaned from who knows where. It would be helpful if folks could actually cite real references. Like this, maybe:

    Acetyl carnitine and alpha lipoic acid have been studied, and have effects on aging and cognitive function.

    Here are a few citations:

    (R)-α-Lipoic acid-supplemented old rats have improved mitochondrial function, decreased oxidative damage, and increased metabolic rate:

    Delaying the mitochondrial decay of aging with acetylcarnitine:

    There are quite a few refereed journal articles on the effects of these compounds on slowing or reversing mitochondrial damage in neurons.

    Here a is more human-oriented clinical research article:

    L-Carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue
    and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and
    controlled clinical trial:
    Mariano Malaguarnera, Lisa Cammalleri, Maria Pia Gargante, Marco Vacante, Valentina Colonna, and Massimo Motta, 2007: Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:1738–44

    The takeaway is: there is evidence for the hypothesis that these two chemicals taken together improve cognitive abilities, one is memory. So, maybe there it is reasonable to think about using the two together, to help older people with cognitive decline.
    A nootropic.


    That was not all that hard. That is how to post something reasonable. You can agree or disagree or ignore this post. But PLEASE cite something to support your position, don't not pull "facts" out of your nether region.

    Thanks for your time.
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