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Qualia Research Institute Question Series: Will we see evidence that Piracetam is a more effective Alzheimer's treatment than Memantine by 2021?


This is the third in a three-part series of questions suggested by the Qualia Research Institute, with particular thanks to Andrés Gómez Emilsson, whom you can find blogging at the always interesting

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and to the extent that current medications can treat it, their effects on cognitive decline are more akin to hurdles than roadblocks. One of the most common treatments for Alzheimer’s is Memantine, which “is prescribed to improve memory, attention, reason, language and the ability to perform simple tasks.” It is considered to have a “small” positive effect on moderate to severe AD cases, and no significant improvement for patients in early stages of the disease.

Piracetam is one of the most widely used types of Nootropic, a class of substance generally characterized by its purported effects on cognition and mood. In the US, it is recreationally used in a manner similar to a stimulant such as Adderall, with reported effects ranging from improved verbosity to higher productivity to a decrease in depressive symptoms. None of these, nor any other use of Piracetam is approved by the FDA, and research of the drug on diagnosed cases of AD or dementia have been discouragingly inconclusive at best and unilaterally damning at worst. On the other hand, a lot of guys on Reddit think it makes them talk more.

(A minority of users of Piracetam report reductions in mood, and this question is not in any way meant as an endorsement of this or any other nootropic.)

By 2021, will a published paper or pre-print conclude that Piracetam (or other racetams such as Phenylpiracetam) is more effective than Memantine at slowing cognitive decline, restoring function, or significantly alleviating symptoms of the disease?

The team at the Qualia Research Institute have generously gotten the ball rolling by providing their own prediction that it is 90% likely the question will resolve positive.

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