What are the Dangers of Using Drugs for “Cognitive Enhancement”?


Two University of Cambridge neuroscientists writing in The Lancet Psychiatry are calling for “immediate action” by governments, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical organizations to better understand the risks of people increasingly using drugs like Ritalin and Provigil to “enhance” their cognitive functions.

Sahakian, Barbara J, and Sharon Morein-Zamir. “Pharmacological Cognitive Enhancement: Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Lifestyle Use by Healthy People.” The Lancet Psychiatry 2, no. 4 (n.d.): 357–62. Accessed April 10, 2015. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00004-8. (Full text with free registration)


  1. In other news, neuroscientists and psychiatrists, with funding from pharmaceutical companies, are calling for more studies to be conducted on how overdosing on heroine or cocaine may enhance cognitive functioning. Other questions to consider include: “How can drinking and smoking improve overall health and well-being?” or “How can a fast-food only diet help people to lose weight?” or “How can running head-long into a brick wall improve cholesterol levels?”

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  2. I think we’ve been there before… Apparently it’s enough to allow pharma to sell a drug in a nice pill form and it becomes “safe and effective” as opposed to a narcotic with dubious positive effects.

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