Medical What is your opinion on taking brain-boosting drugs?

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They boost potential quite a bit. I was going through 150 vocab words in 2 hours every weekend when studying for the SAT on them. Normally it'd be around 50 words a day - TOPS
My question would be about how the long term learning is effected. That is to say, if you take a bunch of college kids, track what they remember about their courses say, ten years later, it was found the 4.0 students did not remember the course work as well as the 3's and 3.5's, the idea there being the 4.0's in general used a style of learning that was for the moment to pass the tests but soon forgotten for the latest course work, whereas the lower grade students were learning more for the long term.
It would be interesting to know how well you would remember the words you learned at that rate of 150/day ten years from now as compared to your former 50 word/day skill level. Say you had an identical twin, identical IQ's and such, you take the Nootropic and your brother not. Then come back in ten years and see what percentage of the original you and your brother remembered. Would there be a difference in what you remembered?
 
I have not tried piracetam/nootropil. In my opinion, any drug that has no known LD50 is unlikely to have a measurable effect on anything. (there are exceptions, e.g. vitamin C, but those are exceptions rather than the rule.)

I do take modafinil from time to time, and it's a lifesaver, at least with regard to productivity. As you may know, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. It's debatable whether it helps with the 1%, but it definitely does with the 99%. I believe its effect is similar to amphetamines (Adderall/Ritalin), but there are fewer side effects, no addiction and no withdrawal. Right now it's almost 3 AM here, I've been up since 8 AM, I haven't had more than 5 hours of sleep the night before, I put in a full day at work, when I got home, I was motivated enough to do some home improvement tasks, cutting drywall & such. I'm still up and I'll probably go read a math textbook now. Combined with some downers (wine), maybe that'll put me to sleep. All that on 200 mg of modafinil 18 hours ago. Without downers, I can easily see myself staying up all night and going to work tomorrow morning, no problem.



I have not done any double blind studies (obviously, can't do those on myself), but I've seen no evidence of psychosis and it's not addictive for me. I'm 100% in control of whether I'd like to take it or not. I've gone without for months when my stash ran out (I get mine from Fiji and it's fairly expensive).
LTTE "modafinil causes" psychosis
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/162/10/1983

LTTE "exacerbates psychosis"
http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/59/3/292

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18808567

And of course... the home for Modafinil (Provigil) http://www.provigil.com/

www.provigil.com said:
What are possible side effects of PROVIGIL?

•Common side effects of PROVIGIL are headache, nausea, nervousness, stuffy nose, diarrhea, back pain, anxiety, trouble sleeping, dizziness, and upset stomach.
•If you experience chest pain, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, mania, thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems, stop taking PROVIGIL and call your doctor right away or get emergency treatment.
•These are not all of the side effects of PROVIGIL. For more information about other side effects, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
There are studies, but most that I know of are only available if you subscribe to the relevant journal. Double-blind studies have been done, but I'm glad that you're not experiencing any difficulties.
 
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I don't know. But if a scientist insists that he must use or continue to take LSD(for example) in order to eventually crack the "Grand Unification Theory", well, I might have a problem with that.
Would sound to me that he is more interested in bathing in the emotions of an altered sense of reality than actually figuring-out the answer to the question...
I don't think there would be a great outcry if someone discovered a faster than light space drive or some matter antimatter energy source or a cure for cancers when it was discovered the scientist in question took a nootropic. Compare that to the same discovery made if the same scientist had used a megacomputer doing quadrillions of instructions per second and THAT was the key. I think here the important point would be the usefulness of the discovery. What difference does it make how the discovery was made? Suppose that scientist made his monumental discovery as a result of what he thought was a telepathic communications from a super race in another galaxy, so what? He just made a stupendous discovery so why the potential angst?
 
I don't think there's any argument whether or not the drugs actually work...

If you have any doubts, here is what nootropics do:
Thought and thinking (what nootropics are used for)
Abstract thinking
Attention
Attitude
Brainstorming
Cognition
Cognitive science
Creative thinking
Critical thinking
Curiosity
Decision making
Eidetic memory
Emotions and feelings
Emotional intelligence
Goals and goal setting
Imagination
Intelligence
Introspection
Lateral thinking
Learning
Memory
Memory-prediction framework
Mental calculation
Motivation
Perception
Personality
Recollection (recall)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic

Where do you think it wouldn't be fair to take them?
 
I'll chime in from a amphetamine perspective. I've been on adderall for 1yr now. It's great for focus and getting stuff done -hands down. I do acctually get sleep now, up to 6 hrs a night vs 3~4 without it. however for me the trade-off and downside is that creativity and abstract thinking are severely hampered. My job as an inventor and problem solver is helped and hampered by the use of amphetamines. Prior to going on adderall my biggest complaint was I had far too many projects in motion and little being finished so 'money' was sitting on the floor I couldn't pickup.

the effects of adderall allow me to focus and complete a project or job and do research with little distraction. however I do have to go off the stuff for a few days to bring ideas back in and to start work on new projects. If I had the money I'd hire support staff to handle the implementation and just output the ideas. I have no trouble with the details as a matter of fact without the adderall the details are more fluid and easier as I can see almost all options at once and filter out the best with little re-design. Adderall tends to subdue that and it causes me to run through each one and then within short order I find myself not interested in continual revision as it takes longer and I feel the need to move on.

health wise I monitor my heart and do lab work regularly to make sure nothing surprises me. So far I'm healthy as a can be. I've always had an active lifestyle so that really helps.

recently I've started supplementing with l-tryptophan and reducing the adderall. I've found this combination to far better and I've been able to half my adderall dose and get back some of that creativity that is suppressed by the amphetamines. I've also found that my internal clock is regulated better to outside world. serotonin being responsible for our internal 'time' sense this makes sense. prior to adding l-tryptophan I would find that hrs would go by like minutes. although that seems like it would be a good thing it's not, getting anywhere on time is impossible and the constant feeling of fleeting time or lost time is horrible.
 
I don't think there's any argument whether or not the drugs actually work...

If you have any doubts, here is what nootropics do:
Thought and thinking (what nootropics are used for)
Abstract thinking
Attention
Attitude
Brainstorming
Cognition
Cognitive science
Creative thinking
Critical thinking
Curiosity
Decision making
Eidetic memory
Emotions and feelings
Emotional intelligence
Goals and goal setting
Imagination
Intelligence
Introspection
Lateral thinking
Learning
Memory
Memory-prediction framework
Mental calculation
Motivation
Perception
Personality
Recollection (recall)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nootropic

Where do you think it wouldn't be fair to take them?
I did not go through the entire article. The science of brain enhancement is a interesting field and research is going on in this field specially in areas such as dementia, Alzheimer etc.

I will stress as i said before, I have not come across any long term studies of the effects of drugs on normal individuals
( particularly enhancing cognitive abilities ignoring side effects).The studies are usually done on conditions such as dementia.

others such as B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acid, antioxidants (common knowledge) are known to improve function not only of the brain but also other organs.
 
LTTE "modafinil causes" psychosis
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/162/10/1983

LTTE "exacerbates psychosis"
http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/59/3/292

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18808567

And of course... the home for Modafinil (Provigil) http://www.provigil.com/



There are studies, but most that I know of are only available if you subscribe to the relevant journal. Double-blind studies have been done, but I'm glad that you're not experiencing any difficulties.
Okay, these are both isolated incidents, and in both cases there were additional factors in combination with modafinil (sleep cycle manipulations or history of schizophrenia).

I read about the trials of modafinil for childhood ADHD, they tested it on close to a thousand children, and I don't recall any mention of psychosis.

This is not aspirin, and all people are different. Side effects may occur. Headaches are the most frequent side effect, drug allergies (rashes) are the most frequent SERIOUS side effect, those occur in <1% of those who take the drug, and those go away when you stop taking it. Psychosis is probably even less frequent than that.


edit: that second article links psychosis with dopaminergic action of the drug. And since ritalin/adderall are substantially more potent than modafinil in that aspect, shouldn't it follow that ritalin/adderall are even worse? And indeed there's even a page on Wikipedia called "Methylphenidate psychosis"...
 
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Okay, these are both isolated incidents, and in both cases there were additional factors in combination with modafinil (sleep cycle manipulations or history of schizophrenia).

I read about the trials of modafinil for childhood ADHD, they tested it on close to a thousand children, and I don't recall any mention of psychosis.

This is not aspirin, and all people are different. Side effects may occur. Headaches are the most frequent side effect, drug allergies (rashes) are the most frequent SERIOUS side effect, those occur in <1% of those who take the drug, and those go away when you stop taking it. Psychosis is probably even less frequent than that.


edit: that second article links psychosis with dopaminergic action of the drug. And since ritalin/adderall are substantially more potent than modafinil in that aspect, shouldn't it follow that ritalin/adderall are even worse? And indeed there's even a page on Wikipedia called "Methylphenidate psychosis"...
I think I might have been unclear: I'm not saying that Modafinil isn't preferable to popping dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate, just that it isn't what was hoped for... which pretty much WAS wakefulness-aspirin.
 
I think the question has turned from is it okay to take the drug to is the possible side effects worth it? At least it seems this is where the discussion has gone.

Whether or not the side effects are worth it is truly a personal choice, even when the side effect is temporary psychosis. For example, along with my other health problems I experience frequent bouts of optic neuritis. The treatment for this is steroids. However, over the many uses, I have developed the extreme side effect of temporary psychosis when taking it and it takes about a month to wear off. Still, I feel it is worth the obviously horrible side effect to regain my eyesight. Others may feel it is better to go blind, but it is a choice.

I think these mental drugs are the same way. People have to weigh the potential for side effects with the possible gains. Every medication has potential for abuse and has side effects. Therefore, saying a medication should not be used do to potential of abuse or potential side effects is null.
 

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I think the question has turned from is it okay to take the drug to is the possible side effects worth it? At least it seems this is where the discussion has gone.

Whether or not the side effects are worth it is truly a personal choice, even when the side effect is temporary psychosis. For example, along with my other health problems I experience frequent bouts of optic neuritis. The treatment for this is steroids. However, over the many uses, I have developed the extreme side effect of temporary psychosis when taking it and it takes about a month to wear off. Still, I feel it is worth the obviously horrible side effect to regain my eyesight. Others may feel it is better to go blind, but it is a choice.

I think these mental drugs are the same way. People have to weigh the potential for side effects with the possible gains. Every medication has potential for abuse and has side effects. Therefore, saying a medication should not be used do to potential of abuse or potential side effects is null.
The difference here is weighing the side effects of a medication that prevents a physical impairment to someone trying to get a temporary boost in memory.
 
Nature Publishing Group had a commentary from December 2008 - Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy:

Today, on university campuses around the world, students are striking deals to buy and sell prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin — not to get high, but to get higher grades, to provide an edge over their fellow students or to increase in some measurable way their capacity for learning. These transactions are crimes in the United States, punishable by prison.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v456/n7223/full/456702a.html
 
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Nature Publishing Group had a commentary from December 2008 - Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy:
Yes, but nootropics are over-the-counter and not prescription drugs, and therefore not illegal by any means.
 
Protip: they're called nootropics. :D

Makes sense because the only one I know is call Nootropil. Thanks!
Nootropil is considered a prescription drug where I live.

Nootropil
How does it work?
Piracetam is a medicine used to treat certain types of movement disorder resulting from brain disease (e.g. myoclonus of cortical origin). Its exact mechanism of action is not fully understood. It is used as an adjunctive treatment (in combination with other medicines).

What is it used for?
Sudden spasm of muscles (myoclonus)
Warning!
You should not suddenly stop taking this medicine unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
This medicine may cause drowsiness. If affected do not drive or operate machinery.

Use with caution in
Decreased kidney function
Elderly people
Not to be used in
Breastfeeding
Children under 16 years of age
Moderate to severely decreased liver function
Pregnancy
Severely decreased kidney function

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
Please read on . . .
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100001864.html
 

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