question from sci-fi-writer

JoshCahoon joshcahoon at cs.com
Fri Aug 31 17:25:18 EST 2001


Kevin Hoffman wrote:


>I am writing a sci-fi story that involves a hypothetical "procedure" that
>increases concentration and memory by some large factor (say 1000X).
>
>I would be very grateful for any information on:
>
>- what region of the brain controls concentration and memory

Bilateral loss of the hippocampus results in profound anterograde amnesia, ie,
inability to acquire information after the lesion is sustained. One theory is
that the hippocampus is required to convert short term memory into long term
memory. Hippocampus patients, however, do show approximately normal ability to
learn skills or procedures--they just don't remember having learned. 
Writings on patient HM and Korsakoff's syndrome might be helpful for you. 

Children with ADHD are believed by some to  owe their symptoms to insufficient
activity in the frontal cortex, which is believed to inhibit other structures
that subserve impulsive or reflexive behaviors. That might be why a stimulant
seems to calm them down and enhance their concentration abilities.
  
>- if there are any current, experimental procedures of this nature
>

No, not for normal people. But if you do a websearch for "nootropics", you'll
find thousands of pages selling "smart drugs". There is scant evidence that
these are effective. 








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