Legal Mind-Altering…errr…Brain-Boosting Drugs

I don’t know about you, but the very idea sets off alarm bells for me.

Monday, December 8, 2008

(12-07) 19:25 PST — Three job candidates sit in a quiet room, straining over a tough exam. But one of them has taken a memory-enhancing drug the other two couldn’t afford. Is the test fair?

In another futuristic scenario, a drug can help airline pilots keep focused during a long flight, though it causes some side effects. May an airline require pilots to take the drug?

Get ready to confront such questions in daily life, a group of scientists and policy experts urge in a thought-provoking commentary published online Sunday by the journal Nature.

Brain research is accelerating, and a new era of “cognitive enhancement” – the use of brain-stimulating drugs and devices by healthy people – is approaching, the authors said.

While thorny ethical and medical questions must be addressed, pharmaceutical enhancement of inborn mental gifts is a trend to be welcomed, the seven co-authors from Harvard, Stanford and other prestigious institutions said.

Pharmaceutical enhancement of inborn mental gifts? Ummmmm, I thought that’s what illegal drugs did and aren’t they ILLEGAL? Precisely because they “enhance mental gifts”. Mental gifts to me means your mind, imagination, creativity, etc. This article is talking about steroids for the brain. Aren’t the use of steroids in sports also illegal?

And yes, I do think this would give the user an unfair advantage, just like sports steroids gives the user an unfair advantage. Mentally competent adults shouldn’t need any “enhancement” to function, think, etc. So what exactly is the purpose of this drug?

But since the pharmaceutical cartel has produced it, it is going to be welcomed? *rolling my eyes here*

And then there’s this stuck in the middle of the article:

Sahakian and another co-author, Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School, are consultants for pharmaceutical companies. Nature noted no conflicts of interest for the other five authors, who include the publication’s editor in chief, Philip Campbell.

So, we now know that two of the co-authors are consultants for phamaceutical companies (bet its the same companies making this drug too), and another co-author just happens to also be the editor of the publication that published this little ditty. Tell me, is it just me or do you also think the other four co-authors just might have some conflict of interest also (regardless of the statement here that they don’t, since their names aren’t mentioned and you can’t check)?

Greely, who has been tracking policy issues in neuroscience for six years, said the article is not a clarion call for widespread use of brain-boosting drugs, free of legal controls. Instead, the authors wanted to debunk arguments that drug enhancement is immoral per se, compared to other means of strengthening mental performance, such as a double espresso or an expensive tutor. “Society shouldn’t reject them just because they’re pharmaceutical enhancements,” he said in an interview.

Ummm YES society should reject them precisely because they are pharmaceutical enhancements. ALL pharmaceuticals have side effects, most of which are downright nasty and many permanent and dangerous. There is also no mention in this article about possible side effects, especially long term. So they want to use us as guinea pigs to be sure its safe. How nice.

Read the FULL STORY here.

All those old sci-fi movies I used to watch are coming to life these days. Now THAT is scary!

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~ by swfreedomlover on December 12, 2008.

7 Responses to “Legal Mind-Altering…errr…Brain-Boosting Drugs”

  1. I’ve yet to find a Sci-Fi movie that wasn’t a deliberate anti-science film, typically a ‘things man was not meant to know’ Luddite type scare.

    That said, the comparison between drugs taken to enhance work performance or drugs taken to enhance sporting performance does not pan out. In the latter case, the reason the drugs are prohibited is the rules of the game, not because those drugs are inherently harmful. Many of the activities of professional athletes are, ultimately, harmful to the athletes. One example would be the long term joint damage done to ballet dancers.

    Outside of a regulated game environment, there are no rules. Or, rather, the rule is ‘win’, and each person defines their own definition of ‘winning’. For some, it means not going to jail, which means not breaking the law or not getting caught. For some, it means achieving their goals no matter what.

    Saying that performance enhancing drugs are immoral because they are illegal is a non-sequitor at best, somewhat hypocritical at worst. Saying they’re immoral because they’re not fair is applicable only to regulated gaming environments, where some of them are ruled against. Saying they’re immoral because they modify our bodies is a tribute to the lasting irrational fear that is Mary Shelley’s legacy.

    Now, all THAT said, I certainly agree with you that any drug that makes it to market should be thoroughly tested before it hits market. I know plenty of companies which do exactly that, and the penalties for failing to do so generally are a joke compared to the potential rewards drug companies receive for being first to market.

    • My main point is that the article specifically states how expensive the drug will be…………….therefore ONLY those with lots of money will be able to afford it and the average joe/jane who is equally as smart and a good performer as the rich under normal circumstances, WILL BE at a disadvantage. Since there have been no real long term clinical trials, the long-term side affects are unknown. You call it a performance enhancing drug……………..I know many who would call marijuana, heroin, cocaine, amphetimines performance enhancing drugs also. I think we are talking about a very fine line here that is blurred with the typical “good for you” tactic.

      I just have no faith in the pharmaceuticals anymore, nor the FDA as they don’t even demand proof of clinical testing in most cases and just accept the pharmas word that all is good with the new drug they are pushing onto the market. Proof is all the drugs that get recalled after all the pushing of this new wonder-drug.

      I listen to these ads and the possible side affects and have decided that I’ll put my faith in the universe and deal with whatever is thrown my way rather than risk some of the side affects which are usually worse than the thing the pill is meant to fix. I don’t see trading one problem for another as better.

      But that’s just me.

    • I meant to add also that I firmly believe IF someone can think up something for a book or movie; there is a good chance that eventually someone can actually bring it to life.

  2. Caffeine is a perfectly legal and acceptable performance enhancing drug. In proper amounts it increases seretonin in the brain, increassing your ability to focus. And in proper amounts (like my pot of coffee or more a day, and sodas at night) allow me to perform to higher levels of efficiency even at my most dog-tired moments than your average non-drug using freak can on thier best day. Mental=performance enhancing is already at our disposal, why pay for artificially altered high-priced pharmaceuticals that can’t actually prove themselves more effective than your run of the mill products.
    And as for pharma’s studies and reports, many have been withheld by Big Pharma that showed negative results….and are considered passable into the market if the “significant undesired effects” dont pass the 95% mark first. Was listening to this particular market mode operation on Coast to Coast the other night!

    • You know, they say the same thing about smoking. I drink coffee because I like it, not because it “enhances” anything (except my taste buds)………I can drink herbal tea and feel the same. Same with water. Guess I’m unique then for I have never once felt that smoking, caffeine, sugar ever had any affect on me mentally OR physically.

  3. The only times I notice a difference from caffiene is when I am short on sleep; it helps keep me moving longer before I collapse.

  4. What is this thing you call sleep??? I am unaware of it, as I work all night and then watch a kid all day…..

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