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Author Topic: Can nootropics really make one smarter?  (Read 10150 times)

Offline mlandri

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« on: 16/10/2010 04:52:48 »
Question for you all about nootropics, drugs that purportedly improve ones cognitive abilities. Can they really make one smarter, or are their purported effects more psychological than pharmacological?

Reason for the question ... I've recently become a fan of energy drinks after avoiding them for years. Finally broke down while in grad school. Have to say that I was quite surprised how different (seemingly better) their effects were from coffee, so I Googled the ingredients. While both coffee and energy drinks contain caffeine, energy drinks tend to include other ingredients in their "energy blends": various B-vitamins, Taurine, L-Carnitine, etc. These other, non-caffeine elements are considered by some to be nootropics.

Now, I'm quite curious and am thinking about sampling other such substances. Is it possible to get more out of the gray matter that God gave me via nootropic cocktails?

Any good/bad/indifferent experiences out there? Any good studies?


 

SteveFish

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #1 on: 16/10/2010 16:41:55 »
Mlandri:

During grad school I found that the absolute best health, physical performance, and mental enhancer was a good exercise program, and I still have one. Stay away from Adderall and similar drugs. Beware of substances that make you feel like your performance and judgment have been enhanced when in fact they have not. Any drug that actually enhanced cognitive performance, and was safe to use, would be very big news.

Steve
 

Offline mlandri

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #2 on: 16/10/2010 17:29:52 »
Steve,

Interesting you say that. I worked on a project once with an absolutely brilliant guy who was working on advanced degrees in both music and mathematics. His opinion was that coffee and other stimulants actually degrade your mental ability. Being a coffee lover, I find such an absolutist opinion hard to accept.

Seems to me that some folks like myself are predisposed to love coffee and other stimulants. Others like my wife and the guy referenced above are predisposed to not gain much benefit from them. Putting that aside, however, I'm less interested in exploring the world of stimulants than I am in exploring the world of non-stimulant nootropics. Mental focus is a tricky thing. Stimulants can provide short-term help up to a point. However, too much caffeine, etc. can make it harder to focus. If there is another non-stimulant supplement available that can improve mental focus and cognitive abilities, I'd probably give it shot to see how it worked.

Unfortunately, searching the web revealed advocates for those who believe in nootropics and those that do not. Certainly, It'd be great if these effects were real. However, the skeptic in me, is inclined to believe that they are not.

As an aside, I do agree with you about exercise. I've developed quite a good routine over the past few years. Always could be better, I suppose, but I'm not sure that there is much more upside to the exercise path than I've already obtained.

Some examples of non-stimulant nootropics that I've heard/read about are:

DHEA -- actually, usually associated with building muscle in that it is a steroid hormone. However, many believe that it also helps with cognition.

L-Tyrosine -- supposedly a dopaminergic that can improve cognition

Various colinergics

 

SteveFish

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #3 on: 16/10/2010 19:15:42 »
Hi Mlandri:

I just put "nootropics cognition" (w/o quotes) into Google Scholar and there is a lot of scientific information available. Just in case you didn't know, Google Scholar searches scientific publications so you don't get all the junk advertising and opinion, just, mostly, research articles, reviews, letters, and commentaries. I couldn't function without this convenient science source.

Steve
 

Offline maffsolo

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #4 on: 16/10/2010 23:01:44 »
There was an old joke about a smart pill.
The user found it did not work and brought the maker of the pill to court to bring legal action to them.

The plaintive testified that it was false advertizement, as the defendents lawyer asked, how many did you buy? Plaintive replied 10 bottles. Then he was asked, will you buy them again? No, I think I smartened up!
 

SteveFish

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #5 on: 17/10/2010 00:28:55 »
Q- Did you remember to take your pills today?

A- What pills?
 

Offline mlandri

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #6 on: 17/10/2010 00:59:37 »
I did not know about Google scholar. That is awesome. Thanks Steve.
 

SteveFish

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #7 on: 17/10/2010 04:21:02 »
Mlandri:

You are welcome.

Steve
 

Offline tommya300

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #8 on: 17/10/2010 16:22:49 »
Q- Did you remember to take your pills today?

A- What pills?

 Ah, ha quite the No Cal diet?

Cool Google scholar

I didn't forget to take my smart pill this morning, I can remember taking it standing on my head, can't you tell?
It is working on the wrong end...
« Last Edit: 17/10/2010 16:35:49 by tommya300 »
 

Offline mlandri

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #9 on: 17/10/2010 17:42:36 »
Google scholar is ok. Mostly, abstracts. Have to pay $$ to for the actual articles.

Did find a number of studies that indicated that DHEA seems to have positive cognitive effects. Might give that a try, since its available at Walmart and other brick and mortar stores.
 

SteveFish

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #10 on: 17/10/2010 19:15:05 »
Mlandri:

Putting full research articles behind a pay wall is a real problem. We all paid for the research through our taxes, so should have access to the results. On the other hand, journals can't stay alive if they give away their publication, so governments have to solve this problem.

Often you can find full text for older papers and abstracts alone often answer a question, but I have also found that if you enter the full article title (enclose with quotation marks) and/or the authors names into Scholar or regular Google you sometimes find a website or PDF with the full text for free.

Steve
« Last Edit: 17/10/2010 19:16:56 by SteveFish »
 

Offline imatfaal

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #11 on: 18/10/2010 12:47:50 »
A second place to look for articles is in the "all 3 versions" link (replace number as applicable) that is at the bottom of each individual search result.  Whilst google scholar's first ranked hit on a paper might well be the multinational publishing house that owns and jealously guards the rights, the second or third might well have a pdf attachment. 
 

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Can nootropics really make one smarter?
« Reply #11 on: 18/10/2010 12:47:50 »

 

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