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Nootropic Technologies: Are Any Proven to Work?

Nootropic Technologies: Are Any Proven to Work?


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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.


Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

With more and more clinical research and consumer interest in nootropics, there’s a burgeoning new class of nootropic technologies. These are physical, hardware devices which aim to improve human cognitive function.

In this article we’ll review some of the most promising nootropic technologies available today, as well as those coming soon. We'll review the OmniPEMF, the Haelo, and Neuralink.

We'll also share some research-backed nootropic supplements that may be a better option given the early stage of nootropic technology.

OmniPEMF

Image credit: GlobeNewsWire

The OmniPEMF is an electromagnetic stimulation device worn on the head. The brand's website makes various health claims, including that this product can improve focus.

The OmniPEMF was tested in a clinical trial to assess whether it could improve focus and other cognitive parameters. This clinical trial was published in an open access journal, which means that any individual or organization can publish to it. This is a lower quality of evidence in our opinion than studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, which is what we typically cite on Illuminate Health when we reference clinical trials.

To test for attention, trial participants were subjected to a clock test and were asked to answer how many times a dot skipped instead of shifted on a visual field.

Participants using the OmniPEMF device had more accurate answers than control subjects, suggesting that the device may improve focus.

In the Acknowledgements section, it references that this study was “supported” by the the manufacturer of OmniPEMF without detailing the nature of this support.

Given that this study was published in an open access journal and supported by the device manufacturer, we recommend that consumers disregard the results. We consider OmniPEMF potentially likely to improve focus, but we will only say so conclusively if the company funds a clinical trial in a legitimate medical journal.

Haelo

Haelo device

Image credit: Haelo

The Haelo device uses similar technology to that behind the OmniPEMF: pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy. Their technology is patented and the brand's website claims that targeted PEMF pulses can improve mental clarity, although Haelo is positioned more as a workout recovery product.

We cannot locate any clinical trials testing the efficacy and safety of the Haelo.

We do not recommend using hardware health devices without published clinical proof of their efficacy and safety. Doing so seems illogical.

Haelo makes a number of questionable health claims such as that their device "emits a 6 ft. wide therapeutic field all around your body." There is no citation for this claim.

For consumers set on purchasing a PEMF device, we would recommend OmniPEMF over Haelo due to its clinical backing.

Neuralink

Neuralink device image

Image credit: Deezen

The most promising nootropic technology isn’t available for sale yet, but may be within the decade. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink aims to produce neural implants which will allow the brain to directly interface with computing devices.

The first applications of the technology are simpler in scope, like treatment of Parkinson’s and spinal cord injury. But due to the underlying technology, there is a potential for the device to be able to significantly improve human intelligence beyond any current technology or consumable product. 

Being able to directly influence neuronal function creates the possibility of drastic advances in human intelligence, and creates the possibility of a brain synced with artificial intelligence for synergistic effects.

Neuralink initially planned to commence human trials in 2021, but the company failed to meet that mark, so it will likely be several years until the Neuralink becomes available for sale pending trial results, but this is a technology that any nootropic enthusiast should be tracking because of the upside potential.

We will update this article when Neuralink's clinical trials are completed with the results.

Our Recommended Nootropic Supplements

Since we cannot identify any nootropic technologies that we consider effective at the present time, we wanted to share information about herbal supplements which are proven in medical literature to be effective for cognitive enhancement and memory function.

Ginkgo biloba extract is arguably the most well-studied nootropic supplement apart from caffeine. It’s derived from the leaves of a tree native to China, and has been proven to improve memory, cognition and focus in hundreds of published medical research studies.

Ginkgo biloba has not only been shown effective in older adults (the population that most nootropic studies are conducted on), but also in young, healthy adults which is impressive. A medical review published in the Psychopharmacology journal found ginkgo biloba supplementation to improve attention and cognitive performance in healthy, young adults.

Illuminate Labs manufactures a ginkgo biloba extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpene lactones) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.

Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ginkgo Biloba Extract at this link.

Panax ginseng extract is another well-studied nootropic supplement. A 2013 clinical trial found that ginseng extract supplementation improved memory and short-term cognitive function.

Illuminate Labs manufactures a panax ginseng extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% ginsenosides) and third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.

Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Panax Ginseng Extract at this link.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Nootropic hardware devices are an emerging technology class that has the potential to improve human intelligence and cognition. This type of technology is early-stage, and in our opinion there aren't any devices on the market yet worth the money.

The OmniPEMF is the most promising nootropic technology available today, as it's been proven in a legitimate clinical trial to improve focus compared to a control group. Neuralink is the most promising long-term nootropic technology, because it has significant financial backing and the potential to drastically improve human intelligence via interlinking with machines.

In our opinion, taking nootropic supplements is more logical at this stage than using nootropic technology until more research emerges about the efficacy and safety of existing nootropic technologies.




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