In the first of a three articles we look at how smart drugs widespread use by the general public has exploded in recent times .

In 2014 Under the headline

Bad News For Ivy Leaguer's: ADHD Drugs Hurt Your Memory
Time publishes an article

Prescription drug abuse is rampant, and for a third of Americans, the first drug of any kind that they take—including illicit drugs—is an Rx that has not been prescribed to them. That’s not surprising when you consider how many students abuse ADHD drugs for performance .

It turns out smart drugs do not discriminate they work for everybody . While some studies show there can be a cost to young brains and others indicate an inverse relationship between IQ and effectiveness , the warnings of limitless seems somewhat wide of the mark

They go on to say

Researchers from the University of Delaware and Drexel University College of Medicine reviewed the latest research on the effects of medications like Ritalin and Provigil on the juvenile brain and discovered smart drug use is certainly not benign. The new research published in the journal Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience shows that while a drug like Ritalin may offer a boost in mental performance, it’s a short-term crutch that can actually adversely impact the brain’s plasticity, interfering with people’s ability to plan ahead, switch between tasks and be overall flexible in their behaviors.

Some years ago the Guardian ran a story with a different spin altogether

Students turn to 'smart drugs' to boost grades
Students are increasingly using brain-boosting drugs – and they're virtually impossible to ban, an expert warned today.

Drugs normally used for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are being used by students around the world to improve their academic performance.

The article goes on to say ' in some US universities nearly a quarter of students are reportedly using smart drugs ' .and it's not just students. On wall street and in the bay area of silicon valley use of nootropics [ smart drugs ] is allegedly widespread .

Even though I have a vested interest. I am not sure where I stand. I have never tried brain boosting drugs, so I am in no position to offer an opinion . My gut feeling is that smart drugs are not that smart and therefore not that sinister .

It has been observed that creativity diminishes with IQ levels in the upper percentiles .It seems reasonable to assume that efficiency comes at the cost of creativity, less mistakes and more certainly reduces serendipity .

Remember Nootropics main focus is attention and memory .

In my opinion the really bad news is that smart drugs still require you to put the hard work in .

While non prescribed smart drugs may not be the silver bullet that many hoped for : neither in my opinion are they that sinister

So if smart drugs are not quite what we imagine them to be, why are these drugs so popular .

In her book Working Memory: The Connected Intelligence Tracy Alloway provides an explanation . Working memory may not be exciting but working memory she argues is a better test of ability than IQ .Working memory measures potential to learn and can be crucial in determining classroom and working life achievement.

The analogy is that when you improve working memory .

Rather than standing still as you spin your metaphorical wheels and you are able to put all your horsepower down and gain maximum traction . To use another metaphor working memory is a measure of how many plates you are able to keep spinning at any one time . Arguably working memory is a much more important determinant of success in children and adults than general IQ .

***NOTE - It is worth remembering that working memory correlates closely with general intelligence .If you can improve or train your working memory you will indirectly improve general intelligence .


Smart drugs may not directly make you smarter but they do appear to operate on working memories three elements

1 The "phonological loop" The auditory processing and playback function associated with learning by rote or silently sub vocalizing ,functions are roughly tied to the speech centers of the brain and language development… Miller's Magic 7[+2 or - 2 ] is conceptualized by the digit span [a measure of how many competing linguistic concepts we can hold in working memory at one time]

2 The "visual-spatial sketchpad" or a visual analysis and processing part that serves as an internal laboratory for visualizing problems and solutions .... In the context of memory and working memory striking imagery has been clinically proven to form much stronger memory imprints than words .Einstein's Theory of Relativity was largely developed in his head with complicated visualizations? As proof of concept you can try it out for yourself , with a little practice and some training you to can improve your memory not just for numbers but for everything and anything.

3 The "central executive" that controls these two functions, acts on information stored and retrieved , delegating work and receiving their analysis back in order to facilitate coordinated reasoning, comprehension, learning, and decision making.

To summarize Nootropics work by cutting down the signal noise , allowing the subject to focus , to control what Doctor Steve Peters calls the inner chimp . The inner chimp prevents the executive from keeping its head in the game. Taking attention away from keeping the "phonological loop" focused .

A drug free alternative by contrast works by transferring processing from the phonological loop to the "visual-spatial sketchpad" .

While the two approaches are not mutually exclusive in a noisy loud environment with lots of distraction the nootropics will perform better .However in a side by side clinical trial with controlled quiet conditions, comparing nootropics with a drug free alternative outlined above , it is the drug free route that wins hands down , every time .

In conclusion if you are in a position to control your working environment and you are thinking long term then drug free pathways , smart courses and smart approaches are worth looking into .

Author's Bio: 

Our website has moved we now offer a free introductory course . Our premise remains the same at smartcorZes we promises to replicate the benefits of smart drugs , improve memory and focus without the drugs , it should not be at the cost of wider connections ,it should build on strengths , it should not matter how smart you are and it should be for everybody .