Smart pharmaceuticals run the gamut from memory and learning enhancers
to drugs used to slow down aging, to counteract certain disease
conditions that interfere with intelligence, or to generally stimulate
the central nervous systems. Classifying smart pharmaceuticals into
different categories is not straightforward, since there is overlap in
uses and in how they act on the brain, nervous system, and body to
achieve their purposes. Nootropics are pharmaceuticals that can enhance
learning and memory. A drug designed to slow down aging could, in the
process, improve memory and learning, but not be classified as a
nootropic which are specifically intended to act on the brain. Because
of this confusion, it is helpful to get an overview of the growing
number of smart drugs that are out there.
Nootrpics are pharmaceuticals that improve learning, memory, and recall without other effects on the central nervous system. The term nootropic comes from Greek roots meaning "acting on the mind." According to Dean and Morgenthaler, nootropics were first described in 1972 by C. E. Giurgia in a French pharmacological journal.
Nootropics work by acting on the chemicals that carry impulses or messages beetween brain cells. They promote production of the allimportant neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, which facilitates the transmission of messages from one neuron to another in the brain. Nootropics can prevent the kind of mental deterioration that comes with aging and is caused by declining production of neurotransmitters.
Be cautioned about overdoses. The fact that nootropics stimulate neurological transmittal doesn't mean that the more you take, the faster the transmittal and the better you can think. As with many drugs, there is an optimum point at which the effects peak and then drop off. There is some evidence that you can overdoes if you take too much. Should you take a nootropic, it's important to find out the optimum dosage to get the most benefit. One nootropic may interact with other pharmaceuticals and over-the countr medications as well as herbs and nutrients. Combinations may reduce the amount of the nootropic or other substances required for gaining the optimum desired effects.