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Aug 20, 2015

This narcolepsy ‘smart drug’ makes ordinary people smarter

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

A medication called modafinil is commonly used to treat people who experience narcolepsy, but it’s suspected that the vast majority of those who use the drug are taking it for another purpose that isn’t medically authorised: as a general cognitive enhancer for tasks such as studying or meeting a deadline.

Now a comprehensive review of the medication has looked at this ‘off licence’ use of the drug by healthy, non-sleep-deprived subjects to determine whether modafinil is safe – and to confirm whether the belief that it acts as a general-purpose ‘smart drug’ is grounded in reality.

According to researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and Harvard Medical School in the US, modafinil delivers on both counts, constituting what’s thought to be the first safe smart drug that can provide demonstrable cognitive and concentration benefits. Brainpower in a pill, in other words.

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  • Jerome P. on August 21, 2015 1:16 am

    The question is, does this drug actually improve your THINKING abilities, your REASONING abilities, or does it just increase certain aspects like memory, concentration, etc? Because we have to be careful how we define what SMART means. Is SMART and INTELLIGENT the same thing? What does CLEVER mean? What is GENIUS?
    I knew a person who had a photographic memory and got straight A’s for most of their subjects except for mathematics and physics, which they almost failed at. This person could do well at subjects requiring mostly memory, but couldn’t cope with subjects requiring mostly THINKING and LOGIC.

    So, does this drug make you a better knowledge hoarder, or a better thinker?