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Category Archives: Nootropics
NootroNerd Website Offers Comprehensive Articles About Nootropics and Cognitive Enhancement Methods – Digital Journal
Posted: August 25, 2017 at 4:16 am
Laguna Niguel, California – Looking to improve cognitive skills that have been lost? Look no further than Nootro Nerd. An online resource, they are now providing informative articles on nootropics a smart drug that has been created to allow improvement for peoples cognitive health and memory.
Many fear that they could be at risk of losing their cognitive capacity, especially if they have a family history of dementia or Alzheimers. Making sure that anyone can enhance their natural brain functions is the reason nootropics were created.
The brain is one of the hardest working organs in the body and sometimes it may not perform as well as someone wishes. Sometimes the brain needs a boost to get back up and working, and a great boost for the brain is nootropics. Nootropics are a supplement that are primarily used for the effects it has on the brains natural function. The primary brain functions that nootropics improve are memory, creativity, and motivation.
More than 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimers disease and dementia, but Nootropics can help decrease this because it helps the brain work in ways that it naturally would not do. The new articles on nootropics and cognitive enhancement methodsfeatured on Nootro Nerds go in-depth about nootropics, how these brains enhancing pill work, and which is the best type of nootropics for their readers to get.
The well-researchedpieces on their siteexplain the health benefits and address the safety concerns that anyone may have when considering taking this brain enhancing drug. They also explain how the pill is going to help those who are taking any type of nootropic.
Some may wonder why try nootropics? Nootropics are extremely effective in boosting brain power. The feeling is most effective when it hits the brain clearly. This pill performs like lifting a fog that has been over the brain. It helps the person taking it see clearly while they are doing whatever task at hand.
At Nootroo Nerd, they are reviewing new and popular brands of nootropics to make sure their readers are getting the most informative material possible and using the best brain boosting products. For those interested in increasing their cognitive function and learning more, check out http://nootronerd.com for a reliable source on nootropics and cognitive enhancement methods.
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Posted: August 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm
Hacking, a term now associated with technology, gained its current meaning in the 1950s when MIT students referred to working on technology as hacking. Today, the image of a hacker is often one of a computer programmer that is tapping into systems and accessing information they shouldnt, but in reality, a hacker is just someone who is cutting and splicing technology into new shapes and forms. Indeed, this idea of breaking things apart and putting them back together again ties into the original definition of hack, which is to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows.
When it comes to biohacking, a more recent development in science, it involves combining the idea of hacking with biology. In todays world, biohacking falls into a few distinct categories: 1) grinders, who implant technology into their bodies, 2) health hackers, who use a combination of diet and activity to improve their bodies, 3) DIY biologists, who work in genetics and work on combining different species genetic codes, and 4) researchers and participants in nootropics, a field dedicated to improving cognitive function that is so new that a term like nootropicist has yet to be accepted.
So what does the biohacking industry look like in 2017? Here are four biohacking facts you should know about:
1. Grinders dont use anesthetic
Grinders have yet to receive widespread acceptance, but many of them are out there now. From a magnet in their finger to sense magnetic fields to thermometers to microchips that can act as key cards, grinders are implanting all kinds of technology into their bodies. However, none of these biohack implants are FDA-approved, so doctors arent performing the procedure. This means no anesthesia because whoever does the implanting likely wont have a medical license. Instead, grinders turn to tattoo artists or even do it themselves to get the job done. If you want to become a real-life cyborg, youll have to embrace some pain to get there.
2. Nootropics are all the rage in Silicon Valley
Always looking for the next life hack to boost productivity, entrepreneurs in San Francisco have taken to nootropics to get an edge over their competition and work longer, more productive hours in the hyper-growth tech industry. This behavior has been a trend ever since Bulletproof Coffee appeared in 2009: workers in the tech industry have turned to ingesting odd foods or even fasting once a week, all in the name of increasing productivity. Now entrepreneurs have taken to nootropics, untested cognitive enhancers that make them smarter. There are numerous companies selling nootropics, and some have raised substantial funding, such as Nootrobox, which received $2 million from Andreessen Horowitz. It remains to be seen whether different nootropics combinations of chemicals actually work, but people are nevertheless buying into them, believing that ingesting these chemicals will take their work day to the next level.
3. Scientists can make human tissue out of plants
Pelling Laboratory for Biophysical Manipulation at the University of Ottawa has managed to create a human ear out of a carved apple. In essence, the lab killed and sterilized the apple, leaving a cellulose structure with gaps where the apple cells used to be, and then carved it into the shape of a human ear. They then introduced human cells to the structure, which multiplied and filled it, creating a human-apple hybrid. This technology is in its earliest phase, but upon further development, this technology could become a new means of growing new tissue for grafts and replacing damaged tissue. The possibilities of Pellings technique become more profound when you consider that the cheapest option for growing tissue currently on the market is priced at roughly $800 per cubic centimeter. Pellings apple technique, on the other hand, costs less than 1 cent for the same amount, meaning that tissue replacement could suddenly become a feasible and affordable option for lower economic classes around the world.
4. Anyone can become a biohacker
Biohacking sounds complicated, and sure, creating an ear out of an apple is quite difficult, but anyone can be a biohacker. If youve ever tried cutting sugar or gluten out of your diet, youre a biohacker. Getting a pacemaker, contacts, or hearing aids, all mean that youre a biohacker. While some question whether biotechnology should be available to the masses, its currently possible to start your own lab and biohack genetic code. Projects like The ODIN connect aspiring scientists with affordable tools and everything they need to start their own lab in a garage, and its perfectly legal. Its incredibly difficult to create something dangerous by splicing together different genetic codes, so concern is low. Instead, this community of DIY geneticists and biologists are experimenting to drive progress forward and hopefully one day achieve enough small breakthroughs to change the biohacking industry as a whole.
Are you a biohacker yourself? Where do you think the industry is heading in the latter half of 2017? Leave a comment below!
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Posted: August 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm
Theyre being called nootropics — so called smart drugs that offer a shortcut to sharpen your focus and your thinking. Its an online sensation hitting the $30 billion dietary supplement industry.
Geoff Woo is the CEO of Nootrobox/HVMN, and he says hes sure he can make us smarter and quicker on our feet. Woos company and other competitors want us to think about supplements in a drastically new light.
Typical vitamins focus on micro nutrients, so these things are deficiencies in a persons normal diet, he said. What we look at our company is looking at things that can enhance human performance.
Since hes been taking his smart pills, Coleman Maher says his wrestling workouts are easier.
Its a really, really tough grind and its hard to stay focused or motivated sometimes, Maher said. So, having an energy boost is very valuable.
But beyond an energy boost, could these super supplements also boost our brain power? Piracetam is one smart drug gaining popularity. Its sold as a prescription in Europe, but over the counter here, Dr. Vinh Ngo says.
That one has a lot of research behind it, he said. I think theres a potentially huge audience for Nootropics. Anyone can benefit for having improved cognition.
Since supplements escape regulation by the FDA, doctors remind us to be cautious.
Ive tried to kind of clear up a lot of questions people have, make it safe for them to use, Dr. Ngo said.
So what should we be asking before giving them a try?
Just get some sound advice from a medical professional and do your homework, Dr. Ngo said.
While nootropics is not considered a field of medicine just yet, it has gained a huge following within Silicon Valley. Yahoos Marissa Mayer, and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen both are said to have invested in them. Some doctors point out that there can be a risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, and Dr. Ngo makes all of his patients sign waivers for certain nootropics programs.
NOOTROPICS: BOOST BODY AND BRAIN? REPORT #2445
BACKGROUND: Nootropics were first discovered in 1960s, and were used to help people with motion sickness and then later were tested for memory enhancement. In 1971, the nootropic drug piracetam was studied to help improve memory. Romanian doctor Corneliu Giurgea was the one to coin the term for this drug: nootropics. His idea after testing piracetam was to use a Greek combination of nous meaning mind and trepein meaning to bend. Therefore the meaning is literally to bend the mind. Since then, studies on this drug have been done all around the world. One test in particular studied neuroprotective benefits with Alzheimers patients. More tests were done with analogues of piracetam and were equally upbeat. This is a small fraction of nootropic drugs studied over the past decade. Studies were done first on animals and rats and later after results from toxicity reports, on willing humans. (Source)
A COGNITIVE EDGE: Many decades of tests have convinced some people of how important the drugs can be for people who want an enhancement in life. These neuro-enhancing drugs are being used more and more in the modern world. Nootropics come in many forms and the main one is caffeine. Caffeine reduces physical fatigue by stimulating the bodys metabolism. The molecules can pass through the blood brain barrier to affect the neurotransmitters that play a role in inhibition. These molecule messengers can produce muscle relaxation, stress reduction, and onset of sleep. Caffeine is great for shortterm focus and alertness, but piracetam is shown to work for long-term memory. Piracetam enhances brain oxygen supply and the removal of the inhibitory transmitter GABA, thus theoretically improving attention, memory, and learning. While, there are supplements such as alpha GPC or choline bitartrate for piracetam users, choline is also found in some foods such as vegetables and eggs leading to the theory that a vegetarian diet leads to mental acuity. Modafinil is a prescription drug traditionally used to treat narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an uncommon neurological disorder where individuals are susceptible to repeated sleep throughout the day. Modafinil elevates levels of histamine in the hypothalamus. This leads to a greater amount of alertness. Military pilots have been given this medication for long missions. (Source 1, Source 2)
PRECAUTIONS: Nootropics are sold as nutritional supplements and natural products and refrain from making health claims causing them to avoid close government scrutiny. Piracetam is only one of many formulations in the racetam drug family. Newer ones include aniracetam, phenylpiracetam and oxiracetam and all are available on line where their efficacy and safety are debated and reviewed on message boards and in podcasts. If you are taking Adderall, albuterol or piracetam, you could be at risk for high blood pressure and heart problems. Vinh Ngo, MD, a San Francisco family practice doctor who specializes in hormone therapy, requires his patients to sign waivers acknowledging possible health risks in taking nootropics. While studies have found short-term benefits, Professor Murali Doraiswamy, who has led several trials of cognitive enhancers at Duke University Health System, told The New York Times there is no evidence that what are commonly known as smart drugs, of any type, improve thinking or productivity over the long run. Thats because when you up one circuit in the brain, youre probably impairing another system. (Source)
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Posted: at 6:26 pm
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ –Due to high demand from consumers and popular media outlets, including Last Week Tonight with John Oliverand BuzzFeed, Labdoor tested Alex Jones’s controversial Infowars supplements in the chemistry lab. Products tested to be “clean” based on drug and contaminant screenings, but claimed benefits were found to be highly misguided. Labdoor’s full report on the testing is available here (http://ld2.us/LytksATX).
The following products were tested: Super Male Vitality, Super Female Vitality, Anthroplex, Child Ease, Survival Shield, and Oxy-Powder. All products were screened for heavy metals. Some were also tested for 200+ prohibited substances (including steroids, stimulants, abused drugs like cocaine, morphine, and ephedrine), sildenafil (Viagra) and related compounds, and/or caffeine. Oxy-Powder and Survival Shield’s ingredients were also tested on the chance that they were actually those found in common supplements instead of the miraculous ingredients they claimed to be.
While products generally tested to be “clean”, almost all of the products’ claimed benefits were found to be implausible. For example, serving sizes were often magnitudes smaller than what they should be to accommodate effective levels of all their listed herbal ingredients. For Oxy-Powder and Survival Shield, marketed benefits were often false and even dangerous. Test results revealed that they were simply iodine and magnesium and come with risks of gastrointestinal distress and coma if they are taken unnecessarily.
Labdoor’s mission is to give consumers unbiased, scientific information about the products that affect their health. As quoted in the report (http://ld2.us/LytksATX), Neil Thanedar, Labdoor’s CEO states, “Labdoor is powered by consumer demand and scientific data, not marketing hype or political ideology Our testing focuses on what’s inside the bottle, and our data is based on these results only.”
Visit labdoor.com for more information and full reports on 900+ best-selling supplements. Coming up in Labdoor’s testing pipeline are electrolytes and nootropics. Follow @Labdoor on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news.
About Labdoor:Labdoor (https://labdoor.com) is a supplements marketplace featuring over 900 products and counting, alongside scientific reviews and lab testing results, so consumers can shop with simple, objective facts about the quality and safety of products they entrust with their health.
For Press Inquiries: Gabriel Colombo (415) 549-7339 rel=”nofollow”>firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted: August 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm
In my previous article on the subject of nootropics, I was writing about brain enhancing effects of some medicines and natural compounds. There is, however, a large number of nootropics that received little recognition from official science and remain rather poorly studied. There is a good reason for this too these compounds tend to be addictive or hallucinogenic. This article aims to cover what is known about the effects of these substances.
It is rather curious that nicotine, a well-known addictive component of tobacco smoke, was confirmed to have nootropic effect. The research into this property of nicotine was triggered by observations that ex-smokers tend to complain about the lack of concentration and general decline in various aspects of cognitive abilities. It turned out that nicotine does improve episodic and working memory, as well as attention. Nicotine doses delivered via patches had positive effects (improved performance in cognitive tests) in adults with mild cognitive disorders, as well as in healthy non-smokers.
Cannabis/marijuana and cognitive processes
People of artistic professions often claim that smoking pot helps creativity. There is scientific evidence to substantiate these claims. Cannabinoids seem to temporarily increase communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain thus creating a state of hyperconnectivity and allowing a loose flow of associations. This may explain the heightened creativity individuals experience when using marijuana. Reports of positive benefits include improved mood, lower levels of anxiety, stress, and depression, improved focus and fewer distractions, improved reaction times, more creative thoughts, greater verbal fluency, and better calculative complexity. These effects are largely dose-dependent, and taking higher amounts may lead to the opposite effects including sluggishness, lack of focus, nervousness, and impaired memory formation and recall.
However, the negative long-term effects of cannabis on brain structure and function have been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt. In fact, cognitive decline associated with the use of cannabis is a serious medical problem, and lots of scientific research aims to gain insights into this problem and the potential approaches to reverse decline.
Grey area: Psychedelic drugs (LSD, mushrooms) in microdosing
Type psychedelics and microdosing in Google search, and you will be flooded with thousands of articles claiming that compounds like LSD and psilocybin (active component of magic mushroom) have almost miraculous effect on human cognitive abilities. It appears that many inventors, researchers and innovators use psychedelic compounds in very small doses, occasionally or regularly, to reach a state of enhanced consciousness, get into flow, and work more productively.
But here is a problem: not a single proper scientific publication supports these claims. There is a good reason for this: due to their well-known hallucinogenic properties and serious potential side effects, psychedelics like LSD are banned in most countries around the world. In fact, LSD was banned in the US and UK back in 1960s. This means that the only peer-reviewed published research that could inform on the actual measurable effects of psychedelics as a nootropic were done 50 years ago. The most commonly cited work (Harman, et. al. (1966) Psychedelic Agents in Creative Problem-Solving: A Pilot Study. Psychedelic Reports 19, 211-27.) was published in 1966. Although the findings reported in this publication are interesting, the quality of this work in terms of general organization, the use of suitable control subjects, and statistical power is hardly satisfactory.
The hallucinogenic properties of psychedelics are well documented. Microdosing of these compounds for enhancement of cognitive abilities, however, has not been investigated scientifically. This leave lots of space for imagination and conspiracy theories. There were repeated calls from the research community to lift the ban on research into psychedelics, but so far they seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
There are numerous evidences that psychedelics can be used to treat various psychiatric disorders. Some resent studies indicate that administration of psylobicin in moderate doses is not associated with any significant short-term or long-term risk. When it comes to cognitive enhancement, none of the available peer-reviewed scientific publications confirm or rule out such a phenomenon. One interesting resent publication claims that exposure to microdoses of psilocybin creates a state of hyperconnectivity in the brain. The findings from functional MRI experiments show:
that the structure of the brains functional patterns undergoes a dramatic change post-psilocybin, characterized by the appearance of many transient structures of low stability and of a small number of persistent ones that are not observed in the case of placebo. This means that the psychedelic state is associated with a less constrained and more intercommunicative mode of brain function, which is consistent with descriptions of the nature of consciousness in the psychedelic state.
In other words, the study indirectly points to the possibility of cognitive enhancement and creative stimulation under the influence of psychedelics. Nonetheless, a more definite confirmation of this phenomenon is yet to be published.
A word in defense of official science
People of a more adventurous nature tend to blame the science and medicine industry for slowness inrecognizing the benefits of smart drugs. But lets look at this problem from the perspective of researchers. Most drugs are safe, but from time to time people do experience serious side effects and even life-threatening complications. Nobody wants to be one of the unlucky few. If something goes wrong, youll have nobody but yourself to blame. Regulatory bodies can recommend any given substance for any particular use only when they have sufficient evidence thata) confirms its effectiveness andb) shows that its side effects are mild and manageable, and/or its benefits far exceed the potential complications associated with its use (i.e., the risk is worth taking).
Development of novel nootropics is hampered by research, validation, and regulatory challenges. The road from the research laboratory to FDA approval is difficult, long, and costly. Pharmacological enhancement of healthy populations is fraught with ethical and philosophical pushbacks. Therapeutic effects observed in cognitively impaired patients often contradict those in healthy populations. Even approved drugs have issues with side effects and large individual differences. The long-term effects of nootropics are typically unknown. Most importantly, there is still much to be learned about the cellular and molecular basis for the various aspects of cognition. Once they are better understood, pharmacologists will have much better ideas about the processes in the brain to target and how to do it.
It is easy to get carried away with the potential opportunities that nootropics might offer. But dont forget classical approaches: proper diet and exercise DO enhance brain functions. Many famous thinkers and creative people benefited from simple regular physical activities. Charles Dickens was spending several hours every day walking, sometimes for as much as 20 or 30 miles. Aristotle and Ludwig Van Beethoven are two other famous people who were known for their habit of wondering around while thinking. Physical activity pumps blood through your body and helps to deliver more oxygen to your brain. Regular exercise and healthy diet also keep your blood vessels healthy ensuring that this vital oxygenation is not reduced as you get older. Your normal lifestyle is responsible for your basic level of cognitive abilities. Smart drugs can be used to spike it up from time to time, but if the basic level is low, the spikes wont go that high anyway!
To sum it up, although an occasional joint may heighten your creativity, the regular use of cannabis is definitely not a good approach to enhance cognitive abilities. There is an acute lack of research on benefits (or absence of such) of psychedelics in cognitive enhancement. Virtually all online information on the benefits of psychedelics as cognitive enhancers are completely unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. Any positive or negative appraisals represent personal views of the articles authors rather than results of research studies. Your lifestyle influences you basic level of cognitive abilities dont ignore generally accepted good strategies.
Heishman SJ et al. (2010) Meta-analysis of the acute effects of nicotine and smoking on human performance. Psychopharmacology (2010) 210: 453. doi: 10.1007/s00213-010-1848-1
Newhouse P et al. (2012) Nicotine treatment of mild cognitive impairment: a 6-month double-blind pilot clinical trial. Neurology 78, 91-101. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31823efcbb.
Wignall ND and de Wit H (2011) Effects of nicotine on attention and inhibitory control in healthy nonsmokers. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 19, 183-191. doi: 10.1037/a0023292
Morgan CJ et al. (2010) Hyper-priming in cannabis users: a naturalistic study of the effects of cannabis on semantic memory function. Psychiatry Res 176, 213-218. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.09.002.
GiovanniBattistella G et al. (2014) Long-Term Effects of Cannabis on Brain Structure. Neuropsychopharmacology 39, 20412048; doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.67
Filbey FM et al. (2014) Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111, 1691316918. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1415297111
Studerus E et al. (2010) Acute, subacute and long-term subjective effects of psilocybin in healthy humans: a pooled analysis of experimental studies. Journal of Psychopharmacology 25, 1434 1452. doi: 10.1177/0269881110382466
Petri G et al. (2014) Homological Scaffolds of Brain Functional Networks. J R Soc Interface 11, 20140873. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.0873
Image via Wunderela/Pixabay.
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Posted: at 1:23 pm
Anecdotal evidence suggests more people working in financial services are using smart drugs with the aim of boosting their professional performance. Real data is needed to understand this trend.
To that end, the Brain, Mind and Markets Laboratory at the University of Melbourne is conducting the first-ever survey of the use of smart drugs in the Australian financial services industry. The confidential and anonymous survey takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete online.
The research is being jointly led by Dr Carsten Murawski, Professor Peter Bossaerts and me. Murawski and Bossaerts established the Brain, Mind and Markets Laboratory in 2016 to bring together a multidisciplinary team to study financial decision-making and market behaviour.
Unique in the world, the lab brings together research in finance and economics, neuroscience and computer science to better understand not just what influences individuals to make decisions, but also how markets process information and how humans and computer algorithms influence each other in decision-making environments.
Smart drugs or nootropics refer to medications or substances used to try to improve cognitive functions. People taking them might be aiming to increase mental alertness and concentration, fight fatigue, focus attention, reduce anxiety and stress, or generally boost energy levels and wakefulness. The drugs the lab is interested in might be prescription-only medications such as Ritalin or Provigil, over-the-counter substances, such as caffeine and nicotine, or illicit drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.
While there has been some scientific research performed in controlled conditions on how these substances influence basic cognitive tasks, these studies often show quite mixed results in terms of effects on cognition. Of further concern is that many professional industries (such as medicine and finance) require far more creative and multidimensional approaches to what are often computationally complex and intractable problems. It is still unknown if these drugs can help or hinder this kind of problem-solving.
There have been studies, both in Australia and internationally, that have surveyed the use of these drugs in populations such as university students, medical students and surgeons. However there has not yet been an investigation of their use in the highly competitive and diverse world of finance.
Our survey aims to develop a picture of how these kinds of drugs are used in different sectors of the financial industry and perceptions of their positive and negative effects. We ask what people might know about the use of smart drugs in their working environment and what kinds of effects they are thought to have. Different sectors of the financial industry require very different skill sets and approaches to problem solving, so it would be interesting to see if different drugs are more or less frequently seen in these different sectors.
As modern professional workplaces strive to increase their intensity and productivity and the popular profile of these drugs as treatments for conditions like ADHD increases, its not surprising that there is more interest in their use by healthy people. And, of course, their use raises many ethical questions on issues like competition, perceptions of fairness and of personal choice. However, these issues cannot begin to be addressed without scientific evidence of their use and effects in the workplace. This survey is one of the first steps in acquiring this evidence.
We would like to invite Investment Magazine readers to take part in this research by completing the confidential online survey. The survey has been approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee, takes only 5 to 10 minutes to complete and all responses are completely anonymous.
Dr Elizabeth Bowman is a postdoctoral fellow in decision neuroscience in the Brain, Minds and Markets Laboratory in the faculty of business and economics at the University of Melbourne. Her current research looks at how humans make decisions in conditions of risk and uncertainty.
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Posted: at 1:23 pm
The desire to tweak ourselves is embedded in nearly all of us. We try to tweak our appearance with our morning grooming and dressing rituals, we try to tweak our bodies with diets and exercise, and if that is not enough there is always plastic surgery to give nature a helping hand.
Tweaking our brain, on the other hand, is harder to realize and much harder to objectively quantify. When you go to the dentist and ask for a better smile, you can explain what you want, the dentist can visualize your expectations, and you can see and judge the result. But you cant go to a neurologist and say that you would like to be 10% smarter.
The brain is a complex and energy hungry organ, it represents around 2% of our body weight but uses 20% of our energy. When we talk about pimping our brain, we have to first decide what attribute we want to pimp, why we want to pimp it and then decide how, if at all possible, to pimp it.
There is a billion dollar industry built around supplements. It ranges from nootropics, that can help a student get a study edge, or enhance a fighter jet pilots combat abilities, to herbal based products, that promise a better memory or a better blood flow in our brains.
I had mentioned Modafinil, a popular nootropic, in a previous article. Apparently it is proven to have cognitive effects, like enhancing attention and concentration. If you search the internet there are a lot of first hand experiences of the drugs subjective effect on users; there are also studies about the measurable effect the drug has on our brains, so it is safe to say that it is not just a hype, but there are far too few studies on the long term effects to label the drug as harmless.
Prof. Con Stough, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology at Swinburne University, has been studying nootropics and their effects on the human brain for quite a while. In a Reddit AMA session, the professor discusses the effects, and side effects, of different drugs that he has studied. He confirms that there are measurable, positive cognitive effects from Modafinil, but he believes the enhanced ability to solve problems, is more a subjective feeling than an objective observation.
Interestingly he also admits to taking vitamin B6, B12 and antioxidants, Pycnogenol, as supplements. Insisting that he has not done any studies, only reviews, he is also convinced of the positive effects Bacopa and Ginseng, two popular plant-based supplements, have on our brains.
We have all heard it somewhere- The brain is like a muscle and can be trained.
A lot of us have been brought up believing that we are born with a limited number of brain cells, and with time, alcohol and stress, they will irreversibly die away, making us dumber by the day. That is not true, we constantly grow new brain cells, like all other cells, and taking your brain for a jog is not really a joke. Studies show that new muscles make new proteins that also stimulate the brain to grow.
Learning new motor skills, like juggling, or behavioral/ environmental changes, are known to encourage synaptogenesis. Adults with an increased number of synapses have a better cognitive functionality, and are less likely to suffer from neurodegeneration, compared to their peers with a lower synapses density.
What apparently does not help, is the sea of apps and computer programs that promise to improve your brain, in some way or the other, through regular training. One study
has shown that after six weeks training with diverse computer programs, there were measurable improvement in a number of benchmarking tests participants took before and after the training period, but it did not translate into an improvement of tasks that were not trained, even if they were cognitively similar. So you get better in what you are training but it doesnt mean that your brain will generally function better.
There are lots of methods to enhance your brain, some a little extreme and not yet recommendable, like implanting electrodes in your head and electrocuting your brain; and others more subtle, like association methods to help you remember things better. The question is: how much of what do you really need, and how do you measure intelligence? Is a bigot with a PhD. more intelligent, or a compassionate social worker with a high school diploma?
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Posted: August 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm
Within the nootropics world there are at least 2 – 3 new unique smart drugs released every month. Some are run of the mill and others are more sophisticated. Qualia was launched by the Neurohacker Collective in April 2016 and has grown rapidly since then. This Qualia supplement review provides a solid non-biased overview, but today were focusing more on the long-term nature of this brand and product.
Qualia and the Neurohacker Collective are positioning themselves to be revolutionary within the space, but is this simply good marketing or a sign of something more.
Qualia Supplement vs Unique Nootropic Blends
The Qualia nootropic supplement consists of 42 separate ingredients split into two stacks. A user of Qualia might balk at consuming 9 pills per day, but it seems the brand is more focused on comprehensive cognitive enhancement as opposed to just another product.
Compared to some of the other nootropic brands in the marketplace, this is quite a different approach. Alpha Brain, one of the most well-respected and popular nootropic stacks, is the product of Onnit, LLC. This product includes only 12 ingredients and many (like oat straw) are of dubious quality (or simply fillers).
Even though Alpha Brain is well-respected because of their placebo-controlled study at the Boston Center for Memory, the bacopa monnieri alone could have caused this result. Finally, Onnit has decided to hide the ingredients and their doses for Alpha Brain behind proprietary blends. This lack of transparency is a major weak point.
In comparison, the Neurohacker Collective has provided clear doses of all their ingredients in addition to utilizing mostly solid doses and ingredients.
Comparing Qualia with OptiMind shows similar disparities. Their product includes only 14 ingredients and some of which arent effective (GABA for example). Again, they too have created a nootropic stack that has grown in popularity, but with non transparent tactics. Their exact doses are hidden behind a proprietary focus blend.
From looking at these two most popular nootropic stacks, it is clear that the Neurohacker Collective is producing something to revolutionize the nootropic industry. Not only are they transparent and using quality ingredients, but they are also using ingredients of questionable status (such as noopept and centrophenoxine).
By pushing the envelope with their product, they are assuredly revolutionizing the nootropics industry.
Yet, they are doing far more than that…
Its hard for a supplement to be revolutionary unless the team behind the product is worthwhile. The management team at the Neurohacker Collective far exceeds that of most other nootropic blends.
Their team is both highly effective in different domains and forward thinking. Between the leadership and scientific expertise, this team is grounded in revolutionary ideas and their methods of operating the business reflect as much.
Jordan Greenhall – The CEO of the Neurohacker Collective has developed many disruptive technologies including DivX and many others. His interests in complex systems and artificial intelligence have led him to investments and projects that transcend mere brain supplements.
James Schmachtenberger – Another founder of the team, James has helped bring medical marijuana into California and has fought organizations that limited the spread of this useful plant.
Daniel Schmachtenberger – As the member of major think-tanks, Daniel has spent ample time disrupting industries and paving the way for radical change.
All three of these leaders, combined with scientists and doctors from Stanford University and others, are highly effective but forward thinking. Their interests with Neurohacker Collective transcend basic cognitive enhancement and hope to radically alter humankind.
This is clearly evidenced in their method o funding.
Most companies, especially in the supplement space, are not transparent at all let alone with their finances. The Qualia nootropic is one of the first to be crowdfunded at a later stage. Rather than simply launching a Kickstarter campaign, its possible to own equity in the Neurohacker Collective as a member of the public.
In a recent WeFunder campaign, the Neurohacker Collective opened up their books to provide consumers the opportunity to own the company they support. This is a revolutionary approach to business within the nootropics industry and is assuredly a sign of the team and their forward looking desires.
This is the final component suggesting that the Qualia nootropic, and the Neurohacker Collective, is more than just another nootropic. Only time will tell whether they are truly revolutionary, but they seem off to a good start.
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The use of smart drugs is becoming trendy. Lots of people are taking various substances regularly, many others try them from time to time. The idea of enhancing the brains ability, or tapping into its unused reservoir is definitely sexy, and many people are actively looking for information on this subject.
The shortage of scientifically verified information is exactly the reason Im writing this article. Although thousand of publications on smart drugs, cognitive enhancers, and nootropics etc. can be found online, the overwhelming majority of claims are unsubstantiated or unashamedly commercialized. This means that the info you come across mostly consists of descriptions of personal opinions or experiences, or compilations of facts published elsewhere, or just articles from popular media where people can write whatever they want.
Multiple websites publish all kind of rubbish just to convince you to buy yet another wonderfully effective smart drug. Few people make an effort to refer to their sources of information, not to mention to present scientific and statistical data backing their claims. This is particularly enigmatic when these articles provide recipes for various drug combinations and claim the superiority of some of these combinations/compounds over the others. However, even scientific data on the subject is rather incomplete. Many studies were done using only a small number of participants, or in the absence of any reasonable controls. On their own, studies of such kind are of little, if any, value.
Fortunately, several systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the use of nootropics were published in the last couple of years. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses combine data from multiple individual studies, thus making the data statistically significant. This is a better way of assessing the efficacy of different drugs in the general, healthy population, and these are the publications that I will mostly use as reference points in this article.
How to prove that a smart drug is really smart?
Smart drugs (e.g., nootropics and cognitive enhancers) are defined as substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. The last bit is important: there are many drugs that were specifically developed to enhance brain functions in people with various cognitive disorders or deficits. Such drugs wont necessarily smarten up healthy people, and when they do, they are not necessarily safe. Nootropics may come in many forms, from classical pharmaceutics in the form of pills to herbal supplements and functional foods.
There are only few smart drugs that are proven to improve some aspects of cognition. Proving that a compound has the properties of a nootropic is not a simple task. There is no straightforward way of measuring whatever cognitive enhancement you may experience once the pill is taken. The drug may indeed work and visibly increase your productivity. But it may also simply improve your mood if you anticipate a positive effect. On top of this, any given drug may work for some people and not work for others. Furthermore, the use of any drug is associated with potential side effects (e.g., headaches) that might eliminate its advantages in productivity and creativity. If the changes in productivity can be measured using some tests, creativity still remains something arguably impossible to quantify.
How smart drugs work?
There are several mechanisms that can be involved in the functioning of smart drugs. Some drugs can increase the blood flow (and thus oxygen supply) to the brain. Others can accelerate neuronal communication through increased release of certain neuromediators or through agonistic effects on the receptors of these neuromediators. Some compounds can serve as biochemical precursors of neuromediators, others may prevent oxidative damage to brain cells or provide them with a source of energy. Some of these changes can be achieved quickly making the drugs work almost instantly. Others, such as amendment/prevention of neuronal damage, manifest themselves only after prolonged use of the drug, thus making any changes in cognitive functions not so fast and not so obvious (although they can still be substantial).
Short overview of most popular nootropics
Amphetamines are a class of pharmaceuticals that include adderall, dextroamphetamine, and lisdexamphetamine. The drugs were developed to treat people with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and this is where their effects are the most prominent. The drugs were also demonstrated to improve episodic memory, working memory, and some aspects of attention in the general population. At low doses they improve memory consolidation, recall of information, and motivation to perform tasks that require high degree of attention. Ritalin is structurally different from amphetamines and works through different mechanisms, although produces similar effects. Both amphetamines and ritalin improve cognitive functions, albeit only at lower doses. At high doses they stimulate other neural pathways not involved in learning that effectively cancel their positive effects on cognition.
Wakefulness-promoting agents, such as modafinil and armodafinil, increase alertness, counteract fatigue, and increase productivity and motivation. Modafinil is praised for its ability to improve reaction time, logical reasoning, and problem-solving. The drug is clinically prescribed for a number of conditions including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and shift work sleep disorder.
Compounds from the racetam family (piracetam, oxiracetam etc.) are more extensively studied compared than the newer nootropics. Piracetam was developed back in the 1960s and has an almost perfect safety profile. Convincingly, it was shown to improve cognitive abilities, particularly in older people and those with cognitive impairment. Although piracetam is officially recognized as a nootropic, its brain-enhancing effects in healthy people are considered to be moderate. There is a number of other derivatives from this group of drugs which, allegedly, work better. A good example is phenotropil. This compound was developed in Russia where it is available as a prescription drug. It was demonstrated to have a memory enhancing effect. The drug can be used as a stimulant and enhances resistance to extreme temperatures and stress. Due to its stimulating effect, phenotropil is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which means that it cannot be used by athletes intending to compete in official events.
Xanthines, such as caffeine, are some of the most commonly used compounds with nootropic effects. In particular, they increase alertness and performance levels. Caffeine is not what comes to mind when we think of nootropics, but apparently its effect is comparable to many pharmaceuticals.
L-Theanine, a chemical component of green tea, is very well studied and its effects on promoting alertness and attention are confirmed by multiple research.
When it comes to nutraceuticals and herbal supplements, recent studies appear to be contradictory. Some data do support the memory-enhancing effects of such plants as Gingko biloba, Asian ginseng, and Bacopa monnieri, but systematic reviews do not find convincing evidence of their effectiveness. It is likely that herbal supplements may work well over longer periods of time and improve cognitive abilities, but in the short term their effects are not particularly obvious. The same applies to many vitamins, such as vitamin E and B group vitamins, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids: the evidence supporting their benefits are limited at the present time.
To conclude, only few drugs are scientifically proven to be associated with moderate cognitive enhancement effects in the healthy population. Being sceptical when assessing information on smart drugs from the internet is a good idea: lots of ridiculous rubbish is published online. Most nootropics are relatively safe, but side effects are always a possibility since the response to nootropics is highly individual.
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Ilieva IP et al. (2015) Prescription Stimulants Effects on Healthy Inhibitory Control, Working Memory, and Episodic Memory: A Meta-analysis. J Cogn Neurosci. 27, 1069-1089. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00776
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Camfield DA et al. (2014) Acute effects of tea constituents L-theanine, caffeine, and epigallocatechin gallate on cognitive function and mood: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev 72, 507-522. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/nure.12120
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