UM discovery might lead to a 'smart pill'

Almost anyone who has faced a test or a deadline probably wished there was a smart pill to pop. New research suggests that this may eventually be possible.University of Maryland scientists have linked a brain compound called kynurenic acid to cognition, potentially opening the door to development of a drug that could aid learning in healthy people - and in those with disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. "Workers might want to take a pill so they can work harder, and college students would be interested because they already are taking amphetamine-type pills so they will be sharper," said Robert Schwarcz, professor of psychiatry, pediatrics and pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research has focused on healthy people, but he says, "What happens with diseases would be a major add-on."
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