Top Scientists Using Performance Enhancing Drugs

This is your brain on performance enhancing drugs

Perhaps the top science journal in the world - Nature – reported today on epidemic-like levels of cognitive performance enhancing drug abuse by top academic scientists.

why they began the survey

The survey was triggered by a Commentary by behavioural neuroscientists Barbara Sahakian and Sharon Morein-Zamir of the University of Cambridge, UK, who had surveyed their colleagues on the use of drugs that purportedly enhance focus and attention (Nature 450, 1157–1159 ; 2007). In the article, the two scientists asked readers whether they would consider “boosting their brain power” with drugs. Spurred by the tremendous response, Nature ran its own informal survey. 1,400 people from 60 countries responded to the online poll.

They looked at illegally obtained (no prescription) use of three drugs: methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulant normally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but well-known on college campuses as a ‘study aid’; modafinil (Provigil), prescribed to treat sleep disorders but also used off-label to combat general fatigue or overcome jet lag; and beta blockers, drugs prescribed for cardiac arrhythmia that also have an anti-anxiety effect.”

One in five respondents said they had used drugs for non-medical reasons to stimulate their focus, concentration or memory. Use did not differ greatly across age-groups

Favorite drugs of the performance enhancing professor:

For those who choose to use, methylphenidate was the most popular: 62% of users reported taking it. 44% reported taking modafinil, and 15% said they had taken beta blockers such as propanolol, revealing an overlap between drugs. 80 respondents specified other drugs that they were taking. The most common of these was adderall, an amphetamine similar to methylphenidate. But there were also reports of centrophenoxine, piractem, dexedrine and various alternative medicines such as ginkgo and omega-3 fatty acids.

As I have srtten many times before. Prepare for the upcoming epidemic of performance enhancing drug abuse. I predict these drugs will be used at rates surpassing any other illegal drug in history. They have minimal side-effects and are becomming increasing viewed on college campuses as nothing more than a no-doze.

Read my previous posts on this topic here:

  1. New Drugs Enhance Performance, Eliminate Need to Sleep
  2. New Generation of Performance Enhancing Drugs
  3. How far would you enhance your body for performance?

Would you use it? My history of working to the limit. I was in an accelerated 6-year combined college and medical school program. Balancing the advantage of being accepted to medical school while still in high school was taking full years of college courses ever summer to catch up on the skipped time. At one point I had medical school 8-5 followed by college classes from 6-10. All was manageable until med school finals hit the same week as college midterms. I remember giving up sleep and filling 2-liter soda bottles with iced coffee to get through the day. We moved onto iced coffee in Captain Crunch next. I stopped at this point (actually at two of these bottles a day= 3000 mg caffeine). I knew others who went the route of amphetamines no-doze and pizza. While an intern my worst shift ever in the hospital was 7AM Friday until 4PM monday= 81 hours. By sunday night I was unwell to say the least. Will drugs help this? I have a good friend who is a leading academic physician. He is a brilliant physician, professor and inventor. He could not believe I had not taken modenifil and raved about how well it worked for him.

Apparently other experts agree with me:

“Neuroscientist Anjan Chatterjee of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia predicts a rise in the use of these drugs and other neuroenhancing products and procedures as they become available (A. Chatterjee Cam. Q. Healthc. Ethics 16, 129–137; 2007). Like the rise in cosmetic surgery, use of cognitive enhancers is likely to increase as bioethical and psychological concerns are overcome and as the products gain cultural acceptance. One difference, Chatterjee says, is that use of cognitive enhancers doesn’t rely on training of medical specialists such as surgeons. Internet availability will also greatly accelerate use, he says.”

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