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Science in Seconds - Smart Drugs

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Science in Seconds Know Everything RUMOURS – Smart Drugs Rheanna Sand: What if a pill could make you rich and powerful? That may be a cheesy timeline for a hollywood blockbuster, but in many ways, it's not far from the truth. And that's because in the past decade, more and more people are turning to so-called cognitive enhancers: drugs designed to help those suffering from brain injury, or diseases like Alzheimer's. Humans, of course, could never let a good pharmaceutical go to waste. So in drugs like Ritalin or Adderall, promising to calm you down, let you focused and make you less impulsive, it was only a matter of time before stressed out college kids took it into their own hands. A recent survey revealed that on some campuses up to 25% of students used these enhancers in the past years. It's not that surprising, really: coffee-fueled writing sessions, or having a private tutor, are all considered socially acceptable cognitive enhancers. What is surprising is the growing use by professors, who are on an increasing pressure to publish, and juggle a busy academic schedule. A new drug, modafinil, which gives people with chronic schizophrenia better memory, planning and alertness, seems to be the pill of choice for professionals dealing with shift work and jet lag. But unlike Ritalin and Adderall, which are known to increase dopamine levels in the brain (in a way that mimicks cocaine), the way modafinil works is unclear. They do know that it raises histamine levels in the hypothalamus, making it a wakefulness promoting agent, rather than a typical speed-like stimulant. There are obvious short-term advantages to using cognitive enhancers, but the long term benefits, as well as the side effects, are unknown. Some of the scientific community are calling for more research, and think that there is a way to use this drugs responsably, like we use caffeine today. But others question the ethics of enhancing a part of our body that defines our very personality. Then again, has it ever stopped us before? Courtesy of Science in Seconds – All rights reserved Only for educational/non-profit purposes. (Translators are invited to put their name here)

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 19 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Science in Seconds
Director: Science in Seconds
Views: 105
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Jan 21, 2012

Humans have had a long love affair with body and mind modification, but in the present day simple modification is not enough - we now strive for permanent or semi-permanent "enhancement." The use of anabolic steroids by athletes, for example, has brought down world records but also brought incredible shame on the leagues that condoned such abuse.

Now, university students and professors are turning to so-called "cognitive enhancers," also known as "nootropics" or "smart drugs" to improve memory, learning, and overall alertness.

What are smart drugs, and how big is the problem? You might be surprised to find out.

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