1Department of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, University of Mons
In a comprehensive paper in French, published in 1972, the Romanian-born neurophysiologist Corneliu Giurgea, working in a Belgian pharmaceutical firm, has put forward the concept of drugs able to improve and protect higher cognitive function, for which he coined the term “nootropic drugs”. The concept was tailored on the peculiar pharmacology of piracetam, a compound synthesized in the company where Giurgea worked for thirty years. Piracetam, still world widely used, became the forerunner of a fairly successful though controversial class of so-called “smart-drugs”. The nootropic concept that supposes a higher brain activity enhancing not due to any specific interaction with a receptor is at odds with the prevailing molecular pharmacology. However, in the forty years since its inception that concept attracted a continuously increasing scientific interest. Moreover, it might turn to be a forebear of the emerging network pharmacology. Accordingly, a scientometric analysis of the nootropic drug concept appears worth attempting.
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