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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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March 31, 2004

Cogniceutical Improves Verbal Memory in Older Men

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Nature and The New Scientist report on a new cogniceutical based on a liquorice extract that improves memory in older men. The substance works by blocking the activity of a brain enzyme that boosts levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is thought to be responsible for eroding memory with age.

The drug, called carbenoxolone, was once used to treat stomach ulcers. But when given to men aged between 55 and 75 it sharpened their verbal memories within weeks. "You get subtle but definite improvements," says Jonathan Seckl who led the study at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Verbal memory, he explains, is needed for remembering recently received information, and is "crucial to normal functioning" - for example, recalling the time of an appointment.

Seckl believes such compounds may be available for the elderly within five years to help improve memory and possibly even treat dementia. "A lot of fine ideas get stuck between animal models and the first clinical trial, but we have at least got preliminary [human] data suggesting it would be a good idea," he told New Scientist."

I wonder how carbenoxolone would impact the memory of a younger person?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Cogniceuticals


1. alfred on April 2, 2004 2:04 PM writes...

Zack asks the question what about "younger persons?"

I ask the question, what about old dogs? We're related, men and dogs, and I like talking to dogs.

And why do we have to wait five years? We might forget about taking the carbenoxolone by then.

And what's wrong with not having stomach ulcers while we improve verbal skills and memory?

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