Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Quest for a Smart Pill

Hall, S. S. (September 2003). The Quest for a Smart Pill, Scientific American, Vol. 289 (Issue 3).

This article shines light on a relatively new class of drugs that has cognitive enhancement effects such as improved memory, increased alertness, and better overall mental acuity. While this may seem like good news for the many people worldwide who already suffer cognitive impairments as the result of neurodegenerative diseases, aging, stroke, or retardation, others question how these drugs may be “abused” by the normal population for daily performance enhancement. As the science and engineering pushes quickly ahead, bioethicists are left playing catch-up, contemplating and debating the social dangers of the widespread use of these substances as “lifestyle” drugs.