That’s the discussion around our dinner table: should doctors prescribe drugs that could improve cognitive skills?
Thanks to medicines developed for folks facing dementia and attention deficit disorders, drugs can also be used “off label” by consumers without such afflictions.
Students, for example, have traded, bought and sold prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall to help them cram for exams and polish research papers.
Journalist Margaret Talbot wrote an article for The New Yorker (link pasted below) on “the underground world of neuro-enhancing drugs” and noted the popularity of stimulants that sharpen focus, concentration and memory.
Neurologists call the cognitive drugs “enhancements,” using the same lingo used to describe enhanced lips or breasts.
And judging from the slurry of popular health news devoted to ways to enrich your brain power, my guess is that consumers—especially aging baby boomers—will be looking for ways to enhance mental acuity.
How many times have you seen a story about how munching on blueberries and working on a crossword puzzle will pump up your brain?
If you could swallow a pill instead, would you?
Physicians are struggling over the ethics of prescribing off-label cognitive enhancements (see the link below).
I think off-label use of neuro-enhancing drugs is like a steam-roller that’s chugging along, soon to pick up speed.
Let’s continue the conversation.
Link to Neurology http://www.neurology.org/content/73/17/1406.full.pdf+html
Poster from University of Miami http://library.miami.edu/blog/2013/02/06/now-on-display-food-and-memory-an-exploration-of-cuban-cooking-1857-today/