Anders Sandberg (
09 Oct 1997 19:31:28 +0200

Just some cheering news from the world of neuroscience:

I got a preprint from Martin Ingvar about his experiments with
ampakines (chemicals which enhance the activation of the glutaminergic
AMPA channel). He and his co-workers did a double-blind study on
their effect on healthy volunteers. It turned out that they improved
visual associative memory, odor associative memory, acquisition of
a visuospatial maze and memory for the location and identity of
playing cards. The drug did not affect non-memory cognition such
as alertness, motor performance and visual recognition.

This is good news. First, it shows that there are cognition enhancing
chemicals that work in healthy young people (there are far too few
studies supporting this). Second, it suggests a whole new category
of nootropic compounds. Third, while the improvements of memory were
not that dramatic (10-20% on most tests) they are likely to be much
better for older people or people with memory problems. Fourth, the
results gives us new insights into how memory works, which will be
important for further development.

So, no genius-pills on the horizon, but yet another useful tool
for tuning up the brain.

author = {Ingvar, Martin AND Ambros-Ingerson, Jose AND Davis, Mike AND Granger, Richard AND Kessler, Markus AND Rogers, Gary A. AND Schehr, Robert S. AND Lynch, Gary},
title = {Enhancement by and Ampakine of Memory Encoding In Humans},
journal = {Experimental Neurology},
year = 1997,
volume = 146,
pages = {553--559},
annote = {A drug that enhances the AMPA receptor mediated current was tested on healthy humans. It had positive effects on memory encoding in visual association, odor recognition, acquisition of a visuospatial maze and location and identity of playing cards. It did not improve a task about cued recall of verbal information.}

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y