The effect of piracetam on short- and long-term verbal retrieval in dyslexic boys

Int J Psychophysiol. 1986 May;4(1):53-61. doi: 10.1016/0167-8760(86)90050-4.


Studies of 60 dyslexic boys age 8-14, carefully selected for exclusion of intellectual, sensory, psychiatric and neurological impairment and educational deprivation, were conducted to determine the efficacy of Piracetam, over a 12-week period, in improving reading and other related skills. There were no changes at the end of 12 weeks to distinguish the groups in accuracy or comprehension of prose-reading. Short-term memory gains, however, were recorded for the treated group on two different tests, digit span, and a test (Neimark) of immediate and delayed recall. The mean digit span scaled score for the entire group was one S.D. below their mean IQ. Considering only the performance of children whose digit span scaled scores were one S.D. or below the mean (7 or less), the treated group made a significant gain at the end of 12 weeks. On the Neimark test the treated group was significantly superior to the untreated group on first trial learning and they also lost significantly fewer object names after a delay. Improved retrieval from long-term storage could be demonstrated for the treated group on the rapid automatized naming test. Although there was no significant difference between the group at screening, the treated group was significantly faster on letter naming at the end of the drug trial. The treated group also improved their single word reading on the WRAT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cues
  • Dyslexia / drug therapy*
  • Dyslexia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Paired-Associate Learning / physiology
  • Piracetam / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrrolidinones / therapeutic use*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology


  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Piracetam