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Review of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs.

Review of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs.

  1. robin_himself
    Reviews the book "Cognitive Enhancing Drugs," edited by J.J. Buccafusco. In his introduction to this excellent short monograph on cognitive enhancing drugs, the editor reminds the reader that the involvement of the cholinergic system in memory function is not a recent occurrence. Gauss, in 1906, was the first to recognize that hyoscine induces twilight sleep during labour. This observation was soon followed by experimental studies showing that the related anticholinergic drug scopolamine caused amnesia in the acquisition phase of learning. In the opening chapter, the editor summarizes the main features of the cholinergic hypothesis of memory and emphasizes that relatively static markers of the cholinergic system, namely acetylcholinesterase (AchE) and choline acetyltransferase (CAT), are largely unchanged in the brain of the patient with Alzheimer's disease (AD) while the functional markers of the release of acetylcholine are very sensitive to hypoxia and ageing. In conclusion, this is an excellent and up-to-date account of the cognitive enhancing drugs that are currently available or in the process of development. It is interesting to note that the nootropic agents, such as piracetam and oxiracetarn, and the gangliosides, that were widely used for well over a decade in several European countries for their supposed memory enhancing actions, are not mentioned.