By Jerry Brainum
THIS IS A TRANSCRIPT FROM THIS VIDEO: Video: Jerry Brainum speaks about smart drugs and nutrients
Okay, let me tell you a couple of stories here. Just imagine a guy who is not very bright, is not the sharpest tack in the deck or sharpest card or whenever. This guy considers himself a novelist. He's been trying to write a novel for 10 years, he just has not been able to get it done. Then, he takes an experimental drug called NZT 48. What happens after he takes this is, not only does he finish his novel at four days, but this is a guy who has no musical ability yet learns how to play a piano at the level of a concert pianist in three days. He studies up on the stock market and learns enough and becomes a savvy enough investor to become a multimillionaire in less than two weeks. All because of the drug that he used called NZT 48.
Here's the second story. There's a young pretty girl, and she goes out with this kind of low life boyfriend. He asks her to make a delivery for him to this kind of shady outfit so she takes his briefcase and it turns out that it's some sort of drug dealer she delivers this briefcase to. Something goes wrong. The drug dealer knocks her out and used her as what they call a mule. He takes what was in the suitcase which turns out to be an experimental drug, and he actually puts it in her lower intestines to ship. That's what they call a mule. They do this with cocaine and other drugs.
Unfortunately, she gets in … One of the guys, one of the henchmen who works for this drug dealer tries to rape her. This was not played by Bill Cosby, it was somebody else. He tries to rape her and she fights her way out of it but in the course of defending herself, this guy kicks her right where she had the drugs implanted in her body. It opens up the stitches and the drugs leak into her body, this experimental drug. Within a short time, this woman develops a number of powers including telekinesis where she can move things across the room or whatever just by thinking about it and she also develops telepathy where she can literally send messages and read people's minds, and her brain, which supposedly starts to get stronger every day.
The movie premise is based on the old myth that we only use 10% of our brains. This woman starts out in the story with 10% of her brain and the drug makes her smarter and smarter every day. By the time she's up to 100%, she could do all kinds of things like control electronics and everything like that.
The third story is about a guy who works as a janitor at a neuroscience lab. This guy just sweeps up. Poor guy has what they call fetal ketonuria which is basically caused by … He's born with a lack of enzyme that helps to metabolize an immuno acid called Phenylalanine. Its consequence, it can build up and can cause severe brain damage. This guy has an IQ of 68 which makes him, I guess it's not politically correct term, but he is what they used to be called mentally retarded.
In the meantime, this lab has done they've done experiments with a kind of like manipulate the brain to release, to alter the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. They successfully done this. They took a mouse and they named that mouse, Algernon, and they manipulated that mouse's brains so the mouse were showing mental powers that are way beyond other rodents.
Anyway, this guy, this janitor somehow becomes the first human experiment. They give him this operation and his IQ goes from 68 to 185. He can read and learn things in a matter of minutes. This woman who was a therapist who was working with them when he was brain damaged, his intelligence goes way beyond her where he can't even relate to her anymore. She becomes like an idiot to him. What happens is that unfortunately the mouse in the story dies.
Now, this was supposed to be a cure for Alzheimer's disease they're working on. To make a long story short, this guy whose name was Charlie, unfortunately the drug or the operation I should say, it didn't last and he reverted back, a very sad story. He reverted back to becoming … he knew it was happening. He reverted back to his former mental retardation state. That's the movie.
Three things if it sounds familiar, these three stories, the first one about the guy who takes the experimental drug was a movie called Limitless. It's based on what you would call and this is the topic of what I'm going to talk about here today, smart drugs, or Nootropics. I'll tell you what that means in the second but the first one is called Limitless. I think they're making a remake from what I've heard. They're making a remake, another remake update or whatever. The second film was called Lucy. The girl who gets the drugs implanted in her, and her brain goes to 100% which by the way is a myth by the way, the idea that we only use 10% of our brains. The truth is we all use 100% of our brains.
That's an old myth. It's not true. It's still passed around but anyway in the third story was based on a short story that originally appeared in a science fiction magazine. It was made into a novel in 1966 called Flowers for Algernon. That's Algernon, remember was the name of the mouse and it was made into a movie in 1968 called Charlie. Now the reason I tell these stories is it kind of shows the fascination that a lot of people have for substances that could possibly increase intelligence, focus and concentration.
As a group, these particular substances are often referred to as smart drugs or Nootropics. Now, the word Nootropics loosely translates into mind-bending. It supposedly substances that can alter thinking, alter the way the mind works, not in a psychedelic way, not where you kind of lose control but basically it's an increase in focus and control where your brain actually becomes more efficient.
That's a key point because all smart drugs are not Nootropics and all Nootropics are not smart drugs because one of them, the definition of Nootropics is something that will increase actual brain efficiency by basically making the brain work better. Smart drugs, some of them do not work in this manner as I'll talk about in a minute. Some of them are just merely stimulants. In other words, they kind of like clear you head if it's a little fuzzy and it gives you the impression that you're smarter or your brain is working better but what it's really doing is just kind of making you more alert.
The first so-called smart drug or Nootropic was called Piracetam and that was introduced in 1964, goes way back to 1964. The scientist that introduced or let's say kind of discovered Piracetam or synthesize it I should say. He's the one that came up with the word Nootropic. A key point about … I got to tell you right off the bat, one of the reasons that I decided to make this video is because there's a lot of hype and misconception. I mean you go over the Internet and there's dozens of dozens of sites selling these so-called smart drugs and nutrients.
That's a point I want to make right now that Nootropics, let's use the word the term Nootropics, I guess you can call them smart drugs too. Nootropics would be better because they come in two forms. One of them are actual drugs and the other ones are nutrients. There's actually nutrients that has the reputation of increasing brain power, not necessarily intelligence, but increasing the efficiency and the way your brain works.
It's better memory, better focus and better concentration. If you add it up, that lead to greater intelligence because you're able to retain things. You have better memory, you'll be able to retain things in a much more efficient rate which can probably raise your IQ a couple of points at least. The first point I want to make about these Nootropics is that and this is what they don't like to tell you is that there's very actual little scientific evidence available that these smart drugs or Nootropics actually work. Now what the research does show is the ones, something like Piracetam, and some of the class of drugs Piracetam called Racetams. There's a whole bunch them besides Piracetam.
What the studies have shown that have looked at these drugs is if you give it to somebody that already has some signs of let's say impending brain damage, like let's say a person or early dementia or somebody's having cognitive memory deficits, if you give them a drug like Piracetam, it very often does increase their focus and concentration. A point though is these are people that already have imbalances in the brain, in other words the brain is not working at top efficiency. By taking a drug like Piracetam or some of these other so-called smart drugs, they might be kind of like maybe basically straightening out, kind of like putting things together, helping the brain work more efficiently.
Again, you have to point out that these are people that already have something wrong with them. They have cognitive deficits and you might be asking at this point okay how does this affect let's say somebody with a normal brain, somebody who doesn't have any kind of problems with thinking or memory or that kind of thing. The studies that have looked at that have shown very little or no results. They have shown results in animal studies but as in the cases with animal studies, you find that very often, the dosage they give to animals, for example mice or rats, far exceeds what they ever give to humans.
When they have given the suggested doses of some of these smart drugs to humans who have no cognitive or thinking deficits, the effect is zero. It's like nothing there. Now this other drug like I said earlier, they differ. How did these smart drugs work. Let's talk about that for a second. Your brain works by … It gets a little complicated but the key to an efficient brain has to do with what they call a balance of neurotransmitters and these are chemicals made in the brain that basically secrete nerve signals. A lot of your antidepressant drugs, your sleeping pills, a lot of these work by interacting with these brain neurotransmitters.
Some of them include names such as serotonin, dopamine, Norepinephrine, and epinephrine and there's a couple of others. A lot of times these things get out of balance and if they get out of balance, that can cause anything from fuzzy thinking to basically problems with memory retention. In Alzheimer's disease, a section of the brain that has to do with memory called the hippocampus is particularly affected. You wind up getting very low in a particular neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is involved in the consolidation of memories and it works in all throughout the brain, but particularly concentrating in the hippocampus area. Now, it turns out that Piracetam, one of the theories of how it works, is that it helps to increase the, let's say, the efficiency of Acetylcholine in the brain. In fact, one of the main side effects of Piracetam is headaches. That's a common side effect and they found that if you give a source of choline, the nutrient choline, if you get a source of choline and you take up Piracetam, it not only makes the Piracetam work better, but it also seems to help prevent the common headache side effect of Piracetam.
As I mentioned earlier, there are drugs that are referred to as smart drugs. These are the ones that have gotten the most publicity. These are the ones that are supposedly used by stockbrokers and students. Typical in that category is one called Adderall and Adderall is a drug that's normally used to treat attention deficit disorder. What it is is a stimulant. It's a stimulant right. The other one is called Provigil or modafinil. Now these things, if you're tired, if you're overworked, if you're under stress, anybody's brain can get a little bit fuzzy.
Now, when you take these stimulants particularly Provigil or modafinil, it's a kind of potent brain stimulant. If you're tired or if you're not getting enough sleep or if you're a student that's been cramming for hours studying something where we start to like again can't concentrate focus, if you take this drug, it will very often clear it up, clear up the fuzziness and allow you to focus and retain the material that you're trying to concentrate on. This leads many to believe that it's increasing intelligence so they refer to them as smart drugs when they're not smart drugs.
All they're doing is basically stimulating the brain. They're stimulating it but they're not really making the brain more efficient, they're overcoming existing deficit in other words, it could be fatigue, could be stress. They're not smart drugs and the problem with stimulants is they come with a lot of possible side effects. Now, the thing is these stimulant drugs, they have a weird effect because if you give them to somebody that's let's say for want of a different word, I'm going to have to say a little on the dumb side. If you give them some of these supplement like Provigil or Adderall, you're very often … People have trouble thinking or concentrating. You'll see an improvement. You'll very often see an improvement.
Now, what if you give it to somebody who is not having these fuzzy thinking problems, whose brain is actually already efficient, is not showing any cognitive deficits, strangely enough if you give these people these drugs, it has a paradoxical reverse effect in that it makes them dumber. It actually produces fuzzy thinking. So again, it depends on the situation.
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