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A 'memory pill' to boost brain power soon

Can't remember phone numbers or worried about an upcoming examination? Fret not. The solution will be simple soon just pop a pill.

world Updated: Jan 19, 2009 15:12 IST

Can't remember phone numbers or worried about an upcoming examination? Fret not. The solution will be simple soon just pop a pill.

Yes, if scientists are to be believed, a "memory pill" that could aid exam revision and help to prevent people from forgetting important anniversaries may soon be available over the counter.

Though the medicine has been designed originally to help treat Alzheimer's patients, according to the scientists, it could be adapted and licensed for sale in a weaker form within the next few years, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

In fact, one brand of memory enhancing pill is being developed by multinational giant AstraZeneca in collaboration with American company Targacept, while Epix Pharmaceuticals, also from the US, is developing another.

Both have "cognitive enhancing effects" that are aimed at treating patients with age related memory loss.

Steven Ferris, a neurologist and former committee member of the Food and Drug Administration in the US, has predicted that a milder version will be available for healthy consumers as a "lifestyle pill" available over the counter.

"My view is that one could gain approval, provided you showed the drugs to be effective and safe. It could be a huge market," Dr Ferris was quoted as saying.

Mind improving drugs are already being taken in Britain by healthy users. Provigil, used to treat narcolepsy, is being taken by some students to help them stay awake, while Adderall XR and Ritalin, treatments for attention deficit disorder, are being used to help promote concentration.

However, a Spokesman for Adderall XR said: "We get a lot of calls from college campuses asking about it. There are risks though. It can raise blood pressure, people shouldn't do it."