Nootropic compounds are specially designed chemical formulas that increases cognitive function. According to the man who coined the term in 1972, Corneliu Giurgea, a nootropic formula should contain the following:
- Enhanced learning and memory
- They should enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions which tend to disrupt them (e.g. electroconvulsive shock, hypoxia).
- They should protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries (e.g. barbiturates, scopalamine).
- They should increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
- They should lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation) and possess very few side effects and extremely low toxicity.