Cognition enhancement via drugs – “Smart and smarter drugs | Mosaic”

Embed from Getty Images Great piece on a topic we have dealt with here before – allegedly cognition-enhancing drugs. via Smart and smarter drugs | Mosaic. Author: Marek Kohn Editor: Giles Newton Copyeditor: Kirsty Strawbridge Fact checker: Lowri Daniels Illustrator: Mari Kanstad Johnsen Art director: Peta Bell “You know how they say that we can only access 20 per cent of our… Read More

Physical Activity and the Prevention of Depression: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies

Important systematic review evidence for the efficacy of physical activity on mood, adding further to the evidence base that exercise plays a very positive neuroregulatory role (see also this Cochrane systematic review downloadable here; and some of our own work here). Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):649-57. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.08.001. Physical activity and the prevention of depression: a systematic… Read More

Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain.

Take-home message: repeated practice with material that must be remembered facilitates remembering in an aged population in whom there is expected to be a degree of age-related memory loss. This practice produces changes in the brain in structures that support learning and memory. Think of it like this: memory can be exercised via practice, much… Read More

Aerobic exercise improves hippocampal function and increases BDNF in the serum of young adult males.

Take-home message: It is becoming increasingly accepted that substantial, sustained low-impact aerobic exercise has profound effects on neurocognitive function in the aged (see, for example, this very important paper from Art Kramer’s group). We here focus on a young and sedentary population, using tasks that tap into hippocampal function. We also measure circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) as a proxy for brain BDNF. We… Read More

Everyday episodic memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a preliminary investigation.

Everyday episodic memory in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a preliminary investigation. BMC Neurosci. 2011 Aug 4;12:80. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-12-80. [Download the paper] Irish M, Lawlor BA, Coen RF, O’Mara SM. Decline in episodic memory is one of the hallmark features of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is also a defining feature of amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which is posited as a… Read More

Evidence for cognitive-enhancing effects of modafinil and methylphenidate is surprisingly thin – perhaps because wakefulness-promotion and cognitive enhancement are confused

There is huge media and other interest in cognitive-enhancing drugs. A few minutes searching on the internet will uncover stories of students and others using modafinil and some other compounds in an effort to enhance their own cognitive function. The evidence for the cognitive-enhancing effects of these compounds is surprisingly thin, however, despite claims about… Read More

The psychostimulant modafinil facilitates water maze performance and augments synaptic potentiation in dentate gyrus.

The psychostimulant modafinil facilitates water maze performance and augments synaptic potentiation in dentate gyrus. [download here] Neuropharmacology. 2010 Jul-Aug;59(1-2):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.03.010. Epub 2010 Mar 27. Tsanov M, Lyons DG, Barlow S, González Reyes RE, O’Mara SM. Source Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland. Abstract Modafinil is a psychostimulant drug used widely for the treatment of… Read More

Rosiglitazone enhances learning, place cell activity, and synaptic plasticity in middle-aged rats.

Rosiglitazone enhances learning, place cell activity, and synaptic plasticity in middle-aged rats. Wang BW, Hok V, Della-Chiesa A, Callaghan C, Barlow S, Tsanov M, Bechara R, Irving E, Virley DJ, Upton N, O’Mara SM. [Download here] Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Apr;33(4):835.e13-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Oct 4. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Abstract As an antidiabetic agent, rosiglitazone (ROSI) binds and activates peroxisome proliferator-activator… Read More

Hippocampal dynamics predict interindividual cognitive differences in rats.

Hippocampal dynamics predict interindividual cognitive differences in rats. Take-home message: Individual memory in old rats was assessed using DNMS. We recorded hippocampal CA1 place cells as these rats explored a familiar environment; 27% of recorded pyramidal neurons showed substantial delayed onsets of place field activity. This age-related firing onset delay occurred under basal conditions; it was… Read More