Brain Gain at what cost?

While I’m not at all surprised at how much “off-label” use there is of Adderall and the other drugs mentioned in the article, I have to admit surprise at the generalized level of acceptance and sense of inevitability coming from the likes of the British Medical Assocation and the Nature article “Towards a Responsible Use of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy.”

The trade off in productivity for creativity–the dampening of creativity as the article called it–is not something that will diminish the fervor for neuroenhancers as I figure a more evolved form of neuroenhancers will come around to heighten creativity (something without the stigma of LSD and other drugs like it that were used by the likes of Steve Jobs).

As someone experiencing what someone in the Atlantic Monthly referred to as the typical, middle-aged, just-at-the-tip-of-the-tongue syndrome when I can’t remember names as well as I used to do, I understand the appeal of a pharmacological assist as well as anyone and have had my eyes opened.  It would be nice to have the same energy and mental acuity as ten years ago to go with the experience and–ahem–wisdom of today.

The most interesting part for me was from Paul Phillips, the poker guy, who called Adderall a “correction” and modanifil an “enhancement.” If these things are deemed safe and without long-term detrimental effects, maybe the British Medical Association is right: bringing up cognitive ability via a pill is “generally seen to be a good thing” and I allow for the possibility that I will concur.


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