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Giurgea's Ghost

Penfield’s Evolutionary Perspective That Inspired The Nootropic Concept

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This is an excerpt from Wilder Penfield that forms the basis of Corneliu Giurgea’s quote on humans not waiting for evolution (and is also the source of the idea of the “uncommitted cortex.”):

 

“Man is different from lower mammals. He has a language that is spoken and written, and he is therefore part of an evolving society. He has in his brain more extensive areas of undefined and uncommitted cerebral cortex. The connections of the uncommitted cortex that will function are determined only during childhood. To this extent, one might well say that the brain of man is molded by his mind. At any rate, brain organization alters according to the content of the stream of consciousness early in life. The brain is subject to alteration by the teaching that comes to a child and the personal effort that he makes.

Man has no need to wait for a bigger, better brain to come to him by means of the slow process of evolution. How slow the process is, was pointed out by Teilhard de Chardin, when he claimed there had been no measurable change in man’s brain since the Ice (Pleistocene) Age, although evolution has ‘overflowed its anatomical modalities.’  Evolution of civilized society has been brief, but it is swift and brilliant. This achievement of the mind was made possible when men learned by teaching to mold the human brain. But there is something else that is continuously creative in our society. Men’s thoughts live on and go on breeding other thoughts-beliefs, faiths, slogans, propagandas.”

Speech, Perception and the Uncommitted Cortex – Wilder Penfield (1966)

 

 

Nootroo 5.0 Change Log

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The Nootroo 5.0 Formula represents a shift in the design of our products from an “all-in-one” to an “à la carte” approach. The prior formula was based on the combination of two different stacks (synergistic ingredients), a nootropic one and an energy+calming one.

The nootropic molecules, noopept and phenylpiracetam, when stacked with choline are said to have “profound effects,” significantly better than either ingredient alone. And caffeine is known to have a synergy when stacked with L-theanine, where the calming properties of the L-theanine modulate the intensity of caffeine. As an all-in-one stack, the prior formula is pretty much unmatched, but the combination also limits the times when you might solely want the nootropic boost.

We have now separated the two stacks into their own formulas so that you have more flexibility in which effects you want and when. The other benefit is that we have used the freed up space in both the Gold and Silver Formulas to improve them and make them “more nootropic.” We used most of the freed up space to significantly increase the level of citicoline and moderately increase noopept in the Gold Formula and phenylpiracetam in the Silver Formula.

Nootroo 5.0

  • Gold Formula:

    • Noopept
    • Cognizin Citicoline
  • Silver Formula:
    • Phenylpiracetam
    • Cognizin Citicoline
  • Bottle:
    • Custom Aluminium Jars
  • Colored with:
    • Gold – Custom non-artificially colored capsules with Nootroo logo
    • Silver – Custom non-artificially colored capsules with Nootroo logo

Nootroo 4.0

  • Gold Formula:

    • Noopept
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • Pureenergy Caffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal
  • Silver Formula:
    • Phenylpiracetam
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • Pureenergy Caffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal
  • Bottle:
    • Custom Aluminium Jars
  • Colored with:
    • Gold – Custom nonartificially colored capsules with Nootroo logo
    • Silver – Custom nonartificially colored capsules with Nootroo logo

Nootroo 3.0

  • Gold Formula:
    • Noopept
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • Pureenergy Caffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal
  • Silver Formula:
    • Phenylpiracetam
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • Pureenergy Caffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal
  • Bottle:
    • Custom Aluminium Jars
  • Colored with:
    • Gold colored with quercetin
    • Silver – uncolored

Nootroo 2.0

  • Bottle:
    • Custom Aluminium Jars
  • Colored with:
    • 23.5k Gold Flakes 
    • 100% pure Silver flakes
  • Gold Formula:
    • Noopept
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • PUREENERGY Caffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal
  • Silver Formula:
    • Phenylpiracetam
    • Cognizin Citicoline
    • Suntheanine L-Theanine
    • PURENERGYCaffeine Pterostilbene Co-Crystal

Nootroo 1.0

  • Gold Formula:
    • Noopept
    • Citicoline
    • L-Theanine
    • Caffeine
  • Silver Formula
    • Phenylpiracetam
    • Citicoline
    • L-Theanine
    • Caffeine
  • Bottle:
    • Round Tin
  • Colored with:
    • 23.5k Gold Flakes
    • 100% pure Silver flakes

Setting the record straight on roots of the term nootropic

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The word “nootropic” comes from the Greek word “noos” meaning “mind” and “tropein” meaning “towards” and was coined in 1972 by Corneliu Giurgea to describe a class of compounds that selectively act “towards the mind.”

Unfortunately, for the last 4 years, the definition on Wikipedia has relied on a direct translation from a Russian dictionary and is incorrect in stating that the “-tropic” suffix is derived from the greek word “trepein” and means “to bend or turn”. This definition is clearly incorrect as is demonstrated by the 4 examples cited below, which come directly from Giurgea’s writings. The examples clearly show the definitions and usage in context, which all demonstrate that “-tropic” is actually derived from “tropein” and is defined in the nootropic concept as “towards.” In the context of Giurgea’s writings, “bending or turning the mind” would not apply, and thus clearly, the root of the word “nootroopic” means “towards the mind” and not “to bend the mind.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.08.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.03.22 PM

 

So, to lay the record straight once and for all, here are direct sources with links to the papers and/or images I extracted as proof. This example is from the first paper ever published on nootropics in English, Corneliu Giurgea’s 1973 paper titled, “The ‘nootropic’ approach to the pharmacology of the integrative activity of the brain” [ Pubmed | Full Text | DOI: 10.1007/BF03000311 ], where he states it clear as day:

“A new class if therefore to be considered for which we propose the term Nootropic (from Noos—mind, and tropein—towards).”
nootropic defintionScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.45.20 PMA second direct definition is made in Giurgea and Salama’s 1977 Paper, “Nootropic Drugs”, published in Prog. Neuro-Pharmacology. 1.235-47, which states:

“The term “nootropic” (noos = mind; tropein = towards) was proposed by us…”

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.02.47 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.10.05 PM

In 1980 in Giurgea used the phrasing in a sentence which goes even further to give an exact meaning within context. In the paper, “A Drug For The Mind” which appeared in CHEMTECH vol 10 June 1980, on pages 360-365, Giurgea states “we coined the term nootropic to describe the class of compounds which selectively acts towards (Gr.:tropein) the mind (Gr.:noos).”

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.52.41 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.52.22 PM

An additional mention of the true root being “towards” was made in Corneliu Giurgea’s 1982 paper, looking back on the 10 years since his introduction of the nootropic concept. The article, “The nootropic concept and its prospective implications” [Wiley | Full-Text | DOI: 10.1002/ddr.430020505] , appeared in Drug Development Research Volume 2, Issue 5, pages 441–446, 1982. The quote is as follows: “Because drugs along this line “aim” selectively at the noetic functions, we suggest that they should be called nootropics (noos = mind; tropic = towards).” What is different and an even bigger sign of evidence for the root being “towards” and not “to turn or bend” is that here he is referencing the actual word and not the greek words, so it can be considered a direct definition of the component parts of the word “nootropics”, from the creator himself.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.29.55 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-01 at 4.33.06 PM

In conclusion, the word “nootropics” should be translated as meaning “towards the mind” and not “to bend or turn the mind”, as demonstrated in four examples above, the word nootropic is derived from the greek words “noos” meaning “mind” and from “tropein” meaning “towards”. There is little room for argument here, as this is straight from the person who invented the word and the grandfather of nootropics, Corneliu Giurgea.

 

Eric’s Favorite Meditations

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Here is a selection of my favorite meditations:

For the productivity-obsessed of Silicon Valley, coffee alone may not cut it anymore – Marketplace

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NPR’s Marketplace interviews Nootroo founder Eric Matzner on the latest trend in Silicon Valley: Nootropics

The desire for increased productivity in Silicon Valley is spawning a new market, for substances under the heading “nootropics.”

Nootropics are marketed as pills that will increase your productivity and boost your brain power. Many in the scientific community question the claims. But in Silicon Valley, nootropics have become part of a subculture that is trying to work as many productive hours a day as possible.

For the full story be sure to listen to the audio:

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The Brain Bro – Feature in The Atlantic

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Nootroo was featured in a profile on our founder, Eric Matzner, in an article that appeared in the 2016 print edition of The Atlantic, titled “The Brain Bro.” In the article, the journalist shadows Eric for a few days and writes a story about what it is like to be a biohacker in San Francisco.

On philosophy of enhancement:

“Look to how you can optimize yourself,” Matzner said, using one of his favorite verbs. “The body offers plenty of weaknesses that can potentially be overcome.” Midway through the presentation, he unleashed one of his favorite theories: “If somebody invented a drug that improved the brains of the world’s 10 million scientists by 1 percent,” Matzner said, paraphrasing the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, “it would be like creating 100,000 new scientists.”

On how Eric discovered nootropics:

“At first, he turned to prescription medications, including amphetamines and modafinil (also marketed as Provigil), an anti-narcolepsy drug. But he soon realized that what he needed was not simply wakefulness so much as the ability to learn faster. He switched to piracetam and, after noticing improvements in his attention span and reaction time, joined online nootropics communities in an effort to hone his “stack.”

On Eric’s lifestyle:

For many users, nootropics are not just a productivity tool; they’re part of a holistic journey toward perfection of the mind, body, and soul. According to Matzner, Nootroo confers its greatest benefits as part of a broader “protocol” that includes meditation, exercise, and eating “clean.” He consumes an extremely high-fat, low-carb, ketogenic diet; meditates; and tracks his sleep.”

On describing the first public demo of the Meditation Battle League (MBL):

“At the end of the Meetup event, Matzner put his Nootroo-fueled lifestyle to the test via a meditation competition. (“How HARD can you relax?” the event page had inquired.) Wearing EEG headbands, pairs of contestants would meditate while the audience tried to distract them with heckling. The devices would measure electrical activity emitted by the meditators’ brains and project scores, based on their levels of calm, on a giant screen. Whoever remained in a meditative state the longest would win.

Matzner signed me up. I lost my round and got the lowest score of anyone participating…

When Matzner’s turn came, he plopped down in a folding chair. His eyelids fluttered shut, and as his brain jolted toward tranquility, he pursed his lips and breathed out. For a while, he and his opponent were neck and neck, brain to brain. But then Matzner pulled ahead.

The crowd counted down the final seconds in unison. Matzner opened his eyes, slid off his headband, and smiled. Optimization accomplished.

He’d won, 1,339 to 779.

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Get ahead in Silicon Valley in The Guardian

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With a subtext of the article “Some in Silicon Valley claim that a combination of supplements, over-the-counter medications and other chemicals taken together can improve cognitive function,” this article focuses on what people in Silicon Valley are doing to “get ahead.”  You can correctly guess that nootropics are mentioned in the article, and it also includes a discussion with Nootroo Founder Eric Matzner.

On the definition of nootropics:

“…Dubbed nootropics from the Greek “noos” for “mind” [and Greek “tropein” for “towards”], are intended to safely improve cognitive functioning. They must not be harmful, have significant side-effects or be addictive. That means well-known “smart drugs” such as the prescription-only stimulants Adderall and Ritalin, popular with swotting university students, are out. What’s left under the nootropic umbrella is a dizzying array of over-the-counter supplements, prescription drugs and unclassified research chemicals, some of which are being trialled in older people with fading cognition.”

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Nootropics and the Human Lab Rats of Reddit – Gizmodo

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Gizmodo story on the nootropics and biohacking scene.

On Nootroo founder Eric Matzner:

“Eric Matzner tells me he takes 30 to 40 pills a day. He is 27 and perfectly healthy. Thanks to the pills, he says he hasn’t had a cold in years. More importantly, the regimen is supposed to optimize the hell out of his brain, smoothing right over the ravages of aging, sleep deprivation, and hangovers.

Not that a guy so obsessed with health drinks much anyway.

Matzner is the founder of Nootroo, one of the many companies now purveying nootropics, or brain enhancement drugs. Depending on who you ask, nootropics could include everything from Adderall to caffeine, with an array of unregulated and largely untested chemicals like noopept in between. The idea of nootropics has been around since the 70s, but it’s enjoyed a recent swell of popularity, especially among the Silicon Valley bodyhacking and Soylent-guzzling set.”

The next coffee:

“Nootropics may just be the next iteration of caffeine. If cognitive enhancement is the future, then nootropics users are the ones pushing it forward, DIY-style.”

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