Choline and smart drugs

Allen Smith allens at yang.earlham.edu
Sun Apr 12 21:52:49 EST 1992

In article <1992Apr5.221653.13443 at mnemosyne.cs.du.edu>, aankrom at isis.cs.du.edu (
   Anthony Ankrom) writes:
>  Someone asked about choline and smart drugs, so I'm posting what I  know
> off the top of my head. I just moved and most of the data I have collected
> about drugs (reams and reams) are somewhere down in my basement. I can't
> remember direct references, but the names of chemicals I give can be found
> in the Merck Index. Most libraries carry this book. (in my data collecting,
> I think I've read throught this book about three or four times. *gasp!*)
> The Merck Index can tell you about LOTS of pharmaceuticals and other
> chemicals. Also it can give you references to other journals for info.
> Unfortuneately, it helps to be a little technical minded to use it
> effectively. (I lost my copy so if anybody would like to donate one... :)
>  Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine (ACh).
> In studies on memory drugs that enhance levels of ACh in the brain, were
> shown to enhance short term memory retention. This study was conducted
> using a cholinergic called physostigmine. Physostigmine is toxic and
> can paralyse the heart. Physostigmine acts by inhibiting the enzyme that
> breaks down ACh, acetylcholine esterase. This cause a more ACH to be
> avialable at synapses. This seems to augment the area of the brain that
> is responsible for short term memory. Unforytunately the paripheral
> effects of this drug make it too dangerous for use as a "smart drug".
> It would be interesting to attempt to cretae a more specific drug that
> has little peripheral effect. Ibogaine analogues are promising candidates.
> However, increasing ones intake of choline could make more of it available
> for your body to make more ACh. This could have an effect on memory, but
> not as profound as physostigmine. I might also point out that malathion
> acts in the same way as physostigmine, but much more intensely and
> irreversably. I post more details later. I think I'm forgetting something.
> Oh yes, if you are asthmatic I would use those choline augmenters found
> in health stores with caution, they MIGHT provoke an attack. Also if you
> are prescribed atropine or scopolamine for any reason.
        I'd be interested in the original research citations. I wonder if
an inhibitor for physostigmine could be produced that didn't go through
the blood-brain barrier.

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