Corneliu E. Giurgea

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Corneliu E. Giurgea (6 January 1923, Bucharest – 30 December 1995, Brussels)[1] was a Romanian psychologist and chemist. In 1964 he synthesised Piracetam, which he has described as a nootropic.[2]

Giurgea coined the term nootropic[3][4] in 1972.[5][6]

Nootropic characteristics[edit]

He stated that nootropic drugs should have the following characteristics:

  1. They should enhance learning and memory.
  2. They should enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions which tend to disrupt them (e.g. electroconvulsive shock, hypoxia).
  3. They should protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries (e.g. barbiturates, scopalamine).
  4. They should increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
  5. They should lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation) and possess very few side effects and extremely low toxicity.


He received a Ph.D. in medicine from the University of Bucharest, where he also taught for several years. He continued his research and specialisation in Psychology (doc) at the First Pavlov State Medical University of St. Peterburg, under some of Ivan Pavlov's closest collaborators such as Pyotr Kupalov. He was then a post-doc at the University of Rochester and subsequently a professor at the Université catholique de Louvain and scientific counselor and researcher at the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB.

Books and articles[edit]

  • Le Vieillissement Cerebral: Normal Et Reussi, Le Defi Du XXIe Siecle 1993 ISBN 978-2-87009-539-3
  • L'heritage De Pavlov: Un Demi-Siecle Apres Sa Mort 1986 ISBN 978-2-87009-279-8
  • Fundamentals to a pharmacology of the mind 1981 ISBN 978-0-398-04130-4
  • Articles: PubMed Central, Google Scholar.


  1. ^ Riga, Dan; Sorin Riga; Aurel Ardelean & Coralia Cotoraci (2014-05-19). "Prof. Dr. Corneliu GIURGEA (1923 – 1995), descoperitorul Piracetamului şi al unei noi clase de medicamente în terapeutica mondială". Cover - Ultimul numar (in Romanian). Medica Academica. Archived from the original on 2014-07-25. Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  2. ^ Giurgea CE, Greindl MG, Preat S (1983). "Nootropic drugs and aging". Acta Psychiatr Belg. 83 (4): 349–58. PMID 6660010.
  3. ^ Shorvon S (December 2001). "Pyrrolidone derivatives". Lancet. 358 (9296): 1885–92. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(01)06890-8. PMID 11741647. S2CID 205937857.
  4. ^ "PHAR 402".
  5. ^ Gazzaniga, Michael S. (2006). The Ethical Brain: The Science of Our Moral Dilemmas (P.S.). New York, N.Y: Harper Perennial. p. 184. ISBN 0-06-088473-8.
  6. ^ Giurgea C (1972). "[Pharmacology of integrative activity of the brain. Attempt at nootropic concept in psychopharmacology] ("Vers une pharmacologie de l'active integrative du cerveau: Tentative du concept nootrope en psychopharmacologie")". Actual Pharmacol (Paris) (in French). 25: 115–56. PMID 4541214.