Discovered in the early 1960′s, Racetams are the family of drugs for which the term ‘nootropic’ was originally coined. Piracetam is the most well known of the racetams and is a commonly used nootropic agent to this day. An interesting fact about racetams is that their mechanism of action remains unknown to this day. Modern theories suggest that racetams have may an effect upon neurotransmitter production, boosting levels of neurotransmitters in the brain and therefore the cognitive abilities of the subject.Piracetam is commonly used to treat degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, as well as genetic conditions such as Down Syndrome and Dyslexia.
Racetams are generally regarded as being ‘pharmacologically safe’ drugs, which is why their use is popular amongst children, adults and the elderly.StimulantsThere are many stimulant drugs which can be classified as cognitive enhancers. Caffeine is perhaps the most widespread of these stimulant drugs. Other well known stimulants include Amphetamine, Cocaine and Methamphetamine. These are all controlled substances not legally available to the public, however amphetamines have been used by the military to promote wakefulness in pilots and the use of amphetamines by college students is far from unheard of.
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Amphetamines increase levels of seratonin and dopamine in the brain. This generally results in increased feelings of well being and alertness at low doses, though increased doses can cause anxiety, heart palpitations and in very high doses, even death.
DopaminergicsDopaminergics affect the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for, or has an effect on alertness, attention and anti oxidation. Commonly used dopaminergics include cocaine and amphetamine. Other dopaminergics include: • Amineptine – Stabilizes and improves levels of dopamine • Selegiline – Stimulates production of dopamine • Phenylalanine – Raises levels of dopamine • Tyrosine – Raises levels of dopamineCholinergicsCholinergics affect the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which facilitates memory functions. Commonly used cholinergics include: • Vitamin B5 • Rosemary • SageNicotine