World’s First Safe ‘Smart Drug’ Really Does Boost Brain Power
Brain enhancing ‘modafinil’ is the world’s first safe “smart drug” according to researchers at Oxford University and Harvard Medical School, who confirmed it really does enhance mental performance.
Scientists looked at 24 studies into modafinil, a drug which promotes wakefulness and is used to treat narcolepsy, excessive sleepiness and sleep disorders resulting from shift work.
They concluded the drug can improve decision making, problem solving and may even make people think more creatively.
Researchers said the drug is safe when taken on a short-term basis, but acknowledged there is limited data available on the effects of long-term use.
Modafinil is the first ‘smart drug’ to be declared effective, but scientists warn the discovery raises serious ethical questions about how it should be treated by society.
“Modafinil can and does enhance some cognitive functions,” said Dr Ruairidh Battleday of Oxford University.
“For the first time, we have a cognitive enhancer that appears not to have significant detrimental cognitive, emotional, or physical side effects.
“This means that it is time for a wider societal debate on how to integrate and regulate cognitive enhancement. The ethical exploration is a huge and important goal for the near future: one that both scientists, politicians, and the public need to be involved in.”
The president of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology welcomed the drug’s development, but he echoed Battleday’s concerns about the ethical dilemma that a safe smart drug brings.
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