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Should Healthy People Take Mind-Boosting Drugs?

  April, 27 2004 9:50
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Is it safe, fair and morally acceptable to use drugs originally created for mental dysfunctions to improve the minds of normal, healthy people?

The time to answer these social and ethical questions is now, says a group of leading neuroscientists in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. For example, will employers preferentially hire candidates because they are taking mind-boosting treatments? Will people be coerced into enhancing their minds through drugs? Are these treatments safe in the long term or is there a danger of mental decline in old age? How different are these from other self-improvement therapies, such as cosmetic surgery?

Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin are already being used by high school and college students eager to get better grades, and nutritional supplements that promise improved memory are widely available. So, discussion of how society can address these issues is urgently needed.


Martha Farah
University of Pennsylvania, USA
Tel: +1 215 573 3531
E-mail: mfarah@psych.upenn.edu

Judy Illes
Stanford University, USA
Tel: +1 650 724 6393
E-mail: illes@stanford.edu

(C) Nature Reviews Neuroscience press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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