In pharmacological screening tests for activity against the cerebral insults of hypoxia and ischaemia induced by MgCl2 or decapitation in mice, the combination of piracetam and dihydroergocristine has been shown to produce synergistic effects in prolonging the survival time. This was not the case in the model of histiocytic anoxia induced by KCN. Using an optimal combination of piracetam and dihydroergocristine (533:1, Diemil) significant increases in cerebral resistance to hypercapnic anoxia and reductions in the duration of the ensuing electrical silence on the electrocorticogram have been demonstrated in the rat. The same combination was also effective in antagonizing the memory ablating effects of anoxia in rats subjected to electric footshocks during a standard passive avoidance response. The absence of clear effects on gross cerebral blood flow and metabolism, together with considerations of the known pharmacological properties of the two components of the combination and the effects of standard drugs in the models used, lead to the conclusion that the explanation of the observed synergism probably lies in complimentary actions at the level of the cerebral neurones and is independent of simple vasodilation.