piracetam effects on brain functions

Single doses of piracetam affect 42-channel event-related potential microstate maps in a cognitive paradigm.

Michel CM, Lehmann D.

Department of Neurology,
University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
Neuropsychobiology 1993;28(4):212-21


We examined whether a single administration of piracetam produces dose-dependent effects on brain functions in healthy young men. In 6 subjects, 42-channel event-related EEG potential maps (ERP) were recorded during a task requiring subjects to watch single digits presented in a pseudorandom order on a screen and to press a button after all triplets of three consecutive odd or even digits. The ERP maps to the three digits of the correctly detected triplets were analyzed in terms of their mapped ERP field configuration (landscape). Different landscapes of the maps indicate different configuration of the activated neural population and therefore reflect different functional microstates of the brain. In order to identify these microstates, adaptive segmentation of the map series based on their landscapes was done. Nineteen time segments were found. These segments were tested for direct effects on brain function of three single doses of piracetam (2.9, 4.8 or 9.6 g) and a placebo given double-blind in balanced order. Piracetam mainly affected the map landscape of the time segments following the triplet’s last digit. U-shaped dose-dependent effects were found; they were strongest after 4.8 g piracetam. Since these particular ERP segments are recognized to be strongly correlated to cognitive functions, the present findings suggest that single medium doses of piracetam selectively activate differently located or oriented neurons during cognitive steps of information processing.