More research needed on use of ‘smart drugs’ by healthy people (Medical News):
“Drugs such as methylphenidate and modafinil, marketed as Ritalin and Provigil respectively, are used by some healthy individuals in order to boost their cognitive performance, despite a general lack of knowledge about the long-term effects of their nonmedical use.
Prof. Sahakian and Dr. Sharon Morein-Zamir…believe that the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs is likely to increase over time, along with the variety of different drugs that are used by healthy people. To combat this, they are calling for funders and policymakers to prioritize research into the potential benefits and harms associated with the use of these drugs among healthy people. Reliable evidence “is crucial for a balanced view on the risks and benefits of these drugs and to set out clear regulatory guidelines for their use,” they argue.
Column: Pharmacological cognitive enhancement: treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders and lifestyle use by healthy people (The Lancet Psychiatry)
- Summary: Neuropsychiatric disorders typically manifest as problems with attentional biases, aberrant learning, dysfunctional reward systems, and an absence of top-down cognitive control by the prefrontal cortex. In view of the cost of common mental health disorders, in terms of distress to the individual and family in addition to the financial cost to society and governments, new developments for treatments that address cognitive dysfunction should be a priority so that all members of society can flourish. Cognitive enhancing drugs, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and methylphenidate, are used as treatments for the cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, these drugs and others, including modafinil, are being increasingly used by healthy people for enhancement purposes. Importantly for ethical and safety reasons, the drivers for this increasing lifestyle use of so-called smart drugs by healthy people should be considered and discussions must occur about how to ensure present and future pharmacological cognitive enhancers are used for the benefit of society.
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