Smart Drugs,

#083: Aniracetam – First of the Ampakines

July 03, 2015

In Episode #83, Jesse — following up on his long-ago “Aniracetam self-experiment” episode — calls in some scientific muscle and is joined by Professor Keith Wesnes. Over a career spanning more than four decades, Professor Wesnes has founded one of the world’s leading companies for testing cognitive function and has been responsible for almost 200 clinical trials — including Aniracetam tests for its original European manufacturer.

In This Week In Neuroscience, we learn how a recent study on mice has led researchers to find how the brain deciphers movement, speed, and spatial mapping.  (Do mice have an internal “speed limit”? A small group of cells near the hippocampus seems to say: Yes.)

Aniracetam fan?  You’re not alone.  Aniracetam is the compound at the heart of NEXUS, the flagship cognitive stack from Axon Labs.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:49

    Aniracetam making a comeback on Smart Drug Smarts.

  • 00:02:20

    This Week In Neuroscience: The speedometer in our brain.

  • 00:04:41

    Thank you for the great reviews on iTunes.

  • 00:06:37

    Introducing Professor Keith Wesnes.

  • 00:07:31

    How it all began.

  • 00:09:48

    Testing Aniracetam for Hoffmann-La Roche.

  • 00:11:44

    How did a whole lot of different racetams come about?

  • 00:12:42

    Aniracetams and Ampakines.

  • 00:14:22

    Cognitive benefits of Aniracetam on normal, healthy brains.

  • 00:15:18

    Anxiolytic function of Aniracetam.

  • 00:15:53

    Top 3 interesting research discoveries.

  • 00:18:16

    The evolution of anti-depressant drugs.

  • 00:19:25

    Safety profile of Aniracetam and the prescription debate.

  • 00:20:50

    The CDR System results table

  • 00:21:57

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: Animal consciousness - a thought experiment.


  1. Stan says:

    You mention the professor sent you a summary of different substances his team tested and their effects. Is this online somewhere? If not can it be shared?

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Stan — Both are great questions. I’ve reached out to Dr. Wesnes to learn the answer(s). More in a couple of days…

  2. Denis says:

    I have a question regarding aniracetam (and all other racetams for that matter).

    Anitacetam induces the release of acetylcholine and glutamate, right? These neurotransmitters in turn increase the possibility of a neuron firing and thus communicating with other neurons.
    On the other hand, excess of glutamate turns this neurotransmitter into a neurotoxin capable of killing my precious neurons. So what I am asking is whether being on aniracetam (or any other racetam or stack) for a while can actually lead to death of my neurons?

  3. john says:

    Re. Prof. Thomas Hills’ thought experiment in stupidity. My geranium came to a stop and “deliberated” which way it was going to grow. What happened at what I call the “choice point” was that my geranium imagined “growing” right and imagined “growing” left. After a pause,which evidences thought, it decide on right which required the ability to imagine and discount itself on the other path. I have concluded that this required a “primal sense of self” and a necessary “real sense of self”, equaling not only that of the mouse, but also of Professor Hills. Just like the light bulb in the joke, the geranium has to “want” to grow. Also noteworthy is that right is left and left is right from the perspective of the people on the other side of the window. The thought experiment does prove one thing very conclusively however, you don’t have to be a climatologist or an artist to get grant money for doing nothing.

    Love the podcasts, great work.

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