Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thanks For the Memory

Drug manufacturers are now promoting memory enhancement products that are being developed for Alzheimer patients as a recreational and educational supplement.

The Telegraph in an article called 'Memory pill' that could help with exam revision could be available soon by Lucy Cockcroft reports;

Both have "cognitive-enhancing effects" which are aimed at treating patients with age-related memory loss.

Steven Ferris, a neurologist and former committee member of the Food and Drug Administration in the US, has predicted that a milder version will be available for healthy consumers as a "lifestyle pill" available over the counter.

Dr Ferris said: "My view is that one could gain approval, provided you showed the drugs to be effective and safe. It could be a huge market."

There is anecdotal evidence that mind-improving drugs are already being taken in Britain by healthy users.

Provigil, used to treat narcolepsy, is being taken by some students to help them stay awake, while Adderall XR and Ritalin, treatments for attention deficit disorder, are being used to help promote concentration.

A spokesman Adderall XR said: "We get a lot of calls from college campuses asking about it.

"There are risks though. It can raise blood pressure, people shouldn't do it."

The Department of Health said it was not illegal to buy the medicines over the internet, but it was not recommended.

Barbara Sahakian, professor of clinical neuropsychology at Cambridge, said: "It's hard to quantify the scale of the phenomenon but it's definitely catching on.

High-stress, high-stakes testing is once again producing unintended consequences.

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