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Growing awareness of the opportunities and risks posed by pharmacological cognitive enhancement (aka “smart drugs”)

Nootropics

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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.

Col­umnPhar­ma­co­log­i­cal 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.

Learn more about cog­ni­tive enhance­ment:

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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