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Ampakines are a new class of modified benzamide compounds known to enhance attention span and alertness.
The ampakines take their name from the glutamatergic AMPA receptor, which they strongly interact with.
Additional recommended knowledge
Unlike earlier stimulants (e.g. caffeine, methylphenidate (Ritalin®), and the amphetamines), ampakines do not seem to have unpleasant, long-lasting side effects such as sleeplessness.
They are currently (2005) investigated as potential treatment for a range of conditions involving mental disability such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia or neurological disorders as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), among others. In a 2006 study they were shown to have an effect after they had left the body, continuing to enhance learning and memory.
Examples and structure
Some examples include: CX-516 (Ampalex), CX546, CX614 and CX717.
Their action is theorized to be due to facilitation of transmission at cortical synapses that use glutamate as neurotransmitter. This in turn may promote plasticity at the synapse, which could translate into better cognitive performance.
Ampakines work by allosterically binding to particular receptors in the brain, called AMPA-type glutamate receptors. This boosts the activity of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, and makes it easier to encode memory and to learn. In addition, some members of the Ampakine family of drugs may also increase levels of trophic factors such as Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Few side effects have been determined, but an ampakine called farampator has side effects including headache, somnolence, nausea, and impaired episodic memory. 
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ampakine". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|