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January 20, 2003

Get Smart

Ron Bailey has an important article on boosting mental performance and enhancing stability.

Posted by razib at 01:08 PM

I have to agree with "college changing your brain." College made me happy.

Graduate school permanently damaged my psyche.


Posted by: David at January 20, 2003 06:38 PM

I have read that the supplement Huperzine-A is very effective in improving memory. I am going to try it - because of the research indicating itís efficacy and because of it's safety record, I think that a boost in memory is an asset and I prize intellect and cognitive abilities more than anything else.

Anyone have any information as to how Huperzine-A affects IQ? I know that in one study: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10678121&dopt=Abstract)
teens given Huperzine-A scored 11 points higher on a Weschler Memory Quotient test. I also have info that newer compounds related to Huperzine-A have been shown to be more effective. Bob Seitz has also written about this interesting compound here:

Anyone have any info on this or any other cognitive enhancers with solid research behind it? How do the rest of you feel about increasing intellectual capabilities by supplemental/drug means?

Posted by: the alpha male at January 20, 2003 10:45 PM

Some more information about "mind boosters" can be found here: http://www.megafoundation.org/UltraHIQ/HIQNews/Mind_Boosters.html

Below is an excerpt from the above site:

" (3) Future Prospects
In 1999, a spokeswoman for a Johns Hopkins program for gifted children told the assembled parents that within 10 years, treatments would be available that could increase a child's IQ by as much as 50 points. Of course, that's far from a sure thing, and it's far from assured that such treatments would be safe or practical. Still, with more than 30 drugs currently in the FDA approval pipeline, including techniques for directly enhancing the brain through nerve growth factors and the stimulation of new-neuron production, the coming decades appear to offer interesting vistas. We know that comestibles can affect the brain. Alcohol and cocaine are cases in point. In a November 11, 2000, article about The Future of Drugs, the author mentions in passing: Drugs that make you measurably smarter are definitely on the way.
(4) Importance of General Good Health
Certain holistic health factors including stress levels, absence or presence of fatigue, exercise, and good circulation affect intellectual performance. Someone who takes an IQ test when they are well-rested, pumped up from moderate exercise, and happy and enthusiastic about the test is probably going to do better than someone for whom less favourable circumstances apply."

Sounds impressive, but are these claims substantiated by empirical evidence?

Posted by: the alpha male at January 20, 2003 10:54 PM

Alpha male,

Be careful with Huperzine.


I generally find the LEF to be a reasonably reliable source.

If you want to bump up choline activity, consider DMAE or phosphatidyl choline, which are choline precursors, rather than acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

I take lots of cognitive enhancers and they make a large difference for me, but I have severe neurological problems so that doesn't really suggest that healthy people would necessarily benefit.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is worth looking into both for brain enhancement and overall health. Unfortunately it's quite expensive.

There are a number of compounds available now that enhance blood flow to the brain; there is some research supporting their use but most of it has not been conducted on healthy people. Anecdotally, I know a lot of people who swear by Piracetam.

Posted by: Elizabeth at January 21, 2003 12:03 PM