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Modafinil improves memory in those recovering from depression-
Modafinil can improve memory in patients recovering from depression, according to new research from the University of Cambridge. The findings, published today in the journal Biological Psychiatry: CNNI, result from a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study and offer hope of a treatment for some of the cognitive symptoms of depression.
In a study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Wellcome, researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge investigated the potential of modafinil to treat cognitive dysfunction in depression. Modafinil has already been shown in other studies to have beneficial effects on cognitive function in psychiatricdisorders such as schizophrenia.
The study abstract can be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451902216301811
Sixty patients aged between 18 and 65 years with remitted depression completed computerised memory, attention and planning tasks after receiving modafinil or a placebo. The results showed that patients given a dose of modafinil experienced improvements in memory functions, compared to those patients on placebo. Specifically, patients had benefits in two types of memory — episodic memory and working memory, both of which are important in our day-to-day activities. Continue Reading…
Cambridge neuropsychologist Barbara Sahakian on modafinil
For years the mainstream British newspaper The Guardian has been featuring articles about modafinil and smart drugs. Best among them from novelist MJ Hyland, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and wrote a paean to the drug– also a few interviews with Cambridge neuropsychologist Barbara Sahakian. Her book on how modafinil may help those with poor decision making available here. Included below are are few relevant and interesting parts from the interviews:
How does the modafinil work?
“We believe modafinil is a drug with multiple actions,” Sahakian says. “This is because it acts on several neurotransmitter systems in the brain. I suspect that because it’s got these multiple actions, you’re getting a number of things improving but not all for the same reason.”
Neurotransmitters are the chemicals which transmit signals between cells in the brain and Dr Peter Morgan from Yale University believes that modafinil affects three in particular. “Modafinil definitely affects the dopamine system and dopamine will make you more alert, and also more interested in things,” he says. “It affects norepinephrine which can again make you more alert and better able to focus, and it also affects histamine which can keep you awake.”
But it is modafinil’s boost to the working memory that interests many, in particular students engaged in last-minute cramming. It is believed to enhance the short-term memory by as much as 10%, through its influence on a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Continue Reading…