In animal studies, they increase glucose metabolism in nerve cells.
In other animal studies, piracetam increased the number of acetylcholine receptors and the amount of acetylcholine released into synapses.
In the laboratory, nootropics can boost memory in animals and reverse memory loss induced by toxic drugs.
Piracetam may improve communication between the right and left halves of the brain. Since this informational transfer and integration may be linked to creativity, many artists and writers in Europe take it for this purpose.
Piracetam has a very small effect in enhancing cognitive performance in normal elderly people and in children with learning disabilities. It may improve attention span and the integration of information.
Nootropics are claimed to minimize damage from stroke; data are minimal. Nootropics to Treat Dementia
Efforts to use piracetam by itself to treat Alzheimer's disease have met with failure. In a handful of Alzheimer's patients, combining piracetam with choline for a week led to some improvement. Piracetam's ability to increase cholinergic transmission suggests that combining it with cholinesterase inhibitors like donepezil may be a good idea, but this approach has not been tested in long-term clinical trials. In a small study, pramiracetam seemed to work against memory loss in patients who previously suffered head injuries. Unfortunately, most nootropic research has been fairly shoddy and often misused to make fairly tall claims about their clinical utility.
The main advantage of all the nootropics is that they are relatively harmless, with few to no side effects. Doses of pramiracetam, for example, can range from 12.5 mg all the way to 400 mg daily, and most patients do not experience side effects, even at the highest dose.
Piracetam, the main nootropic medication, has been marketed since 1972, and is available in more than eighty countries, including many in Europe, but not in the United States. Inconsistent results have failed to convince the FDA to give its stamp of approval to any nootropic as a treatment for dementia or other memory disorders.
Noontropics Don't Help Age-Associated Memory Impairment
Tom Crook conducted a number of studies with nootropics in subjects with age-associated memory impairment. After investing a great deal of time, energy, and pharmaceutical industry money, he concluded that nootropics like piracetam and pramiracetam cannot be recommended as a treatment for mild memory loss during the aging process. I agree and am not including this class of compounds in my recommended list of promemory medications.
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