Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Life Enhancement

May 28 article in NewScientist.com: "11 Stepts to a Better Brain," mentions smart drugs, specifically modafinil and Ritalin, as well as music lessons, standard "mnemonists" tricks, getting enough sleep, eating vegetables, neurofeedback, etc. Also mentions the School Sisters of Notre Dame on Good Counsel Hill in Mankato, Minnesota, where David Snowdon of U of Kentucky conducted study of nuns aged 75-107 years old who seemed remarkably resistent to mental decline.

"Ideas & Trends" section of 3/20/05 NYT Week in Review, Kate Zernike asks whether steroid use among atheletes is much different from, say, lawyers pulling all-nighters with Provigil, students improving SAT scores with Ritalin, and musicians reducing stage fright with beta blockers. Does any of this count as cheating, she wonders. Cites George W. Bush's 2004 State of the Union Speech, that steroids in baseball "sends the wrong message: that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character."

Sharper minds, Article by Melissa Healey in L.A. Times. Modafinil ("Provigil"), seems to raise mental acuity in test subjects 50%. Cambridge University psychologist Barbara Sahakian: "In my mind, it may be the first real smart drug ... A lot of people will probably take modafinil. I suspect they do already." Another memory enhancing substance HT-0712 under investigation at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island.

Related link: The Good Drug Guide. See also testimonials on RemedyFind.

Not related to cognitive enhancement per se, rather broader issue of using available drugs in enlightened way, AP wire in MSNBC reports that Ecstasy to be tested on terminal cancer patients

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