What do you think are the most promising cognitive interventions out there? I’ve heard about a lot of things to try, from smart drugs to eating certain fats to taking certain vitamins to meditation to brain training. Some of these will have good effects, but you don’t know which until you test them. So where would you start?
Looking for both examples of things that helped you the most, and things that you haven’t tried but think are very promising.
How about interventions that didn’t work but we thought were very promising? Might be useful to know about them and avoid the experimentation costs, if these interventions would fall in the “think are very promising (based on Amazon reviews from people who seem well-intentioned but don’t carefully track)” category.
I’ve tried Brain Toniq, a “functional drink that helps you focus”. In 2009, I consumed a total of 136 cans spread over several months. For a month and a half, I had one can per day (from a case of 48). I was working as a software developer on a project I disliked, which in retrospect was the biggest (and likely single) cause of afternoon drowsiness/dread. Brain Toniq didn’t help with focus, motivation, or self-perceived cognitive performance vs. working on that project. It did seem to help with reducing brain fog somewhat; however, after I quit that project (and Brain Toniq), the brain fog went away.
I’ve done extensive literature review on promising cognitive interventions and like the evidence backing creatine as a brain performance enhancer http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/.
Additionally, I ran an in-depth 24 day cognition study on myself while supplementing with creatine and will be analyzing the data soon. I’ll share the results with you when they are available.
Keep in mind that the study mentions specifically measures brain performance enhancement in vegetarian subjects. It may not apply to other populations.
That being said, I’d keep taking the creatine anyways.
The results of my n=1 creatine study are in and the findings are overwhelming. In every measured category (Speed, Flexibility, Problem Solving, Attention and memory) my 12 day average scores were higher with creatine. It is also worth noting that I made on average 50% fewer errors. I am not a vegetarian, which, as Jolly mentioned, is important to note.
There are some important considerations to make with this data however. First, there is a natural linear progression associated with increased mastery of specific brain games. Since I ran the creatine study after the control study, my results could simply be attributed to this natural progression. Although I haven’t done linear regression analysis on the data, from what I can tell, these results are still statistically significant.
The other more important limitation which I cannot help but think played a major role is the placebo effect. I had a major jump in training scores from day one. It seems unlikely that Creatine had sufficient time to get into my bloodstream and to my muscles and/or brain a few hours after taking it. For this reason I’m considering running a blinded trial on myself and repeating this experiment at a later date.
In any case, It’s nice to know that taking creatine has such a boost on my brain function. Even if it is the placebo effect, I may go ahead and take it before an important talk or a big test. In terms of supplements it’s about as safe as they get.
If any of you are interested in my raw data or in running your own creatine study, feel free to contact me.
How much creatine were you taking to achieve this effect?