September 25th, 2021
Pills can boost your brainpower to help with academics
Some academics make use of smart drugs to boost their performance.
Do you feel under immense pressure to increase your performance at work? Are you exhausted by the demands of an ever-changing society? These are the occupational risks that affect many academics of the present.
The idea that one's performance could be enhanced, and fatigue be cured, by simply taking a pill may surprise even the academics who've examined the effects of smart drugs.
Barbara Sahakian, professor of neuropsychology at Cambridge University, was taken by surprise when a friend gave her a dose of Modafinil which is the "wakefulness" drug prescribed to those suffering from sleep disorders. It was when she was arriving in the US exhausted and jet-lagged, to give a talk at the conference.
After discovering in her own research that the mental and physical performance of individuals are improved through using Modalert 200(Modafinil) Professor Sahakian realized that the drug might aid her.
For the sake of fact, she refused the opportunity. However, the incident with another incident at an event in the Netherlands was the catalyst for her to realize the extent to which smart drugs are earning popularity in the academic community.
She stated: "I was intrigued to realize that there are professors who are taking these drugs regularly. This is a sign of these substances in general by those who are looking for a way to improve the academic level of their students."
The advantages and adverse effects of various medicines that are derived from methylphenidate, which is commonly used to treat ADHD. The effects of methylphenidate, which is commonly used to treat (ADHD) are thoroughly documented in the 1960s. In recent times, research conducted in the US on the most popular name, Ritalin, has found that it is used by children and students to increase their levels of concentration and concentration as well as to assist them in performing better on tests.
The debate about the ethics, safety, and efficacy of using smart drugs like Ritalin to improve academic performance has gotten more heated with the introduction of a new class of drugs that appear to have minimal, or no serious adverse effects are now on the market. Alongside Modafinil The most recent innovations include other ampakines that were designed to treat ailments like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, and also to improve general cognitive function like memory and learning.
Some academics argue that taking these substances is not any more harmful than drinking up to three cups of coffee are opposed by fears that employees and children may be coerced into using these drugs in a more results-driven environment in the classroom and at the workplace. There are warnings that certain drugs are new and the longer-term side effects of these drugs aren't fully understood.
Paul Cooper, professor of education at Leicester University, has been researching ADHD for the last 13 years. He has some evidence from parents who have purchased Ritalin via the internet to offer their children without prescription.
He views this as a part of"the "democratization of science", which has helped increase the use of smart drugs. The availability of these drugs, coupled with the competition in our society is almost certain that students and academics might turn to take the drugs, he said.
"If you examine our society today individuals will go to all sorts of measures to achieve an advantage in education - from buying homes in order to gain entry into a certain school's zone of coverage to committing plagiarism in university. If individuals have a certain mindset that they are inclined to take drugs to improve their academic performance" he added.
Professor Cooper hopes to get money to conduct an investigation on students' attitudes to the substances. He added: "I suspect that for some the only thing that would deter them from taking them is the fear of side-effects."
There are no major studies that have been done within the UK to determine the extent to which smart drugs are utilized by students or academics. However, some professors interviewed through the Times Higher were interested in using them.
Stuart Derbyshire, senior lecturer in psychology at Birmingham University, said: "If it were possible to improve cognition by using drugs that are secure and with no side-effects Then why should anyone not try these drugs? These drugs are highly recommended."
Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, said the research and development of drugs to enhance cognitive function ought to be encouraged as they could help academics who are elderly.
He added: "One 100mg dose of Modafinil can be purchased at PS1.80, about the amount cost to purchase a cafe at Starbucks. A dose of 100 mg to enhance your performance would be enough for a full day of work. It's a small price."
Hazel Biggs, professor of medical law at Lancaster University, said it is possible to argue that there was no difference between students who drank caffeine to stay up late to study and revise their work, and those taking smart drugs.
However, she cautioned that this could lead to a number of legal issues for employers and universities. She stated: "If students use smart drugs to improve their performance and earn an excellent university degree, there may be legal issues in the event they are offered employment. If they discover they're not able to perform at their best without using the drug, it could be claimed that they've actually forged their credentials in an infraction that can be prosecuted criminally."
A number of academics have also warned about the possible negative long-term effects of non-prescribed smart medications.
Dave Woodhouse, director of the Cactus Clinic within the School of Social Sciences and Law at Teesside University, said: "There are evidence-based arguments that the continued usage of these drugs over a long period of time can be detrimental to cognitive function and, therefore, future academic success. The analogy of sport is helpful here to ask: Is immediate success worth the possibility of mental and physical degeneration that could occur over time?"
Steven Rose, emeritus professor of biology at the Open University, said smart drugs raise serious concerns regarding society and higher education.
He stated: "We live in a drug culture that is likely to believe that if you use drugs to keep awake the whole night or increase sexual performance, why not make use of them to enhance your academic performance?
"We must consider the implications of this as a community. We have a history of dealing with alcohol and nicotine however, we are confronting issues that we're not prepared to tackle."
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TOP 4 TYPES OF SMART DRUG
Four different types of drugs that are available on the market or in development are emerging as the most popular contenders to be the preferred smart drugs for students and academics who want to boost their cognitive capacities. Each has been shown to improve memory and concentration for healthy users.
Methylphenidate was used in the late 1960s. Cost: 60 mg tablets can be purchased online for around PS40 (67p per tablet).
A brand name that is popular: Ritalin
Treatment for: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Potential side-effects are known to occur possible side-effects include increased blood pressure, anxiety dizziness, sleep issues nausea.
Modafinil, also known as ampakine, was developed and approved over the last seven years.
Cost: 30 100mg tablets can be purchased via the internet for PS43 (PS1.43 per tablet).
The most well-known brand name is Provigil Alertec.
It is used to treat the following sleep disorders: Narcolepsy, and sleep disorders of other kinds.
The most frequent side-effects are anxiety headaches, nausea, nervousness, mood swings.
Other ampakines have come to the scene just in the last two to three years.
Cost: Unknown, as these drugs are being developed.
It is used to treat Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases schizophrenia ADHD.
There are known side effects that could be a problem: in the majority of cases, none. However, some medications have been shown to cause headaches, nausea, and impairment of memory.
Nicotinic Alpha-7 Agonists The most recent smart drug.
Cost: Unknown at present as under the process of development.
It is used to treat schizophrenia and Alzheimer's diseases.
Potentially harmful side effects: None significant side-effects have been found to date.
Armodafinil Medicines Tablets:-
'NO EVIDENCE OF SERIOUS RISK'
There is no convincing argument that has been presented for the use of drugs that are smart to improve academic performance as per Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Professor Caplan One of the professors in the most vocal opponents of higher education in the field of intelligent drugs has told The Times Higher that worries regarding safety were not any different than the usual concerns regarding any new product or idea.
"If the drugs are harmful I'd suggest that people from the US, as well as the UK, will not take these substances. Because some of these drugs have been in use for long years, there doesn't appear as if there's evidence suggesting that they pose a significant risk," he said.
Prof. Caplan admitted that there may be some issues with individuals, such as children, feeling forced to take smart drugs. However, he said: "If you are talking about the choice of a person who is a reasonably competent individual, I am unable to understand in the simplest terms why the use of smart drugs to improve your performance is a bad idea. I find it funny to hear people claim that it's unnatural to be using phones and computers to boost our abilities almost every day."
A lot of students and academics are already taking smart drugs, he said.
"The notion that we are getting on to a slippery slope will not inhibit anyone from using anything that they think will give them an edge," said the man.
'I WOULD CONSIDER USING THEM MYSELF'
Sarah Chan, a research fellow in bioethics at Manchester's School of Law, is one of a number of academics who have told The Times Higher they were interested in applying smart drugs to enhance their academic performance.
"If it were cheaper and more convenient to obtain the current generation of smart drugs, I would certainly consider using them myself," she added.
She added: "Who among us has not, in the midst of trying to recall an elusive fact, imagined more memory or criticized ourselves for our inability to focus, squeezing our exhausted brains to function?
"These drugs might, at the very least, be an improvement on caffeine, the current mental stimulant of choice for many students and academics."
Dr.Chan claimed that there is nothing morally wrong in the use of smart drugs to boost the brain's power and said that weighing the potential benefits and risks was the responsibility of the individual.
She stated: "Why should it be unwise to try to improve ourselves? The capacity to think clearly and reason the ability to look and think about, engage with, and possibly influence what we see around us is a part of what we most value about ourselves. We should surely welcome any opportunity to improve this, be it by better education, the use of tools like computers, or the usage of drugs?"
The fear that the price of these drugs could result in the "unenhanced underclass" who could not afford them overlooks the benefits for the advancement of humanity as a whole, she said.
"The answer is to "level up and try to broaden the use of technology instead of restricting it. We shouldn't discount the advantages that smart drug use offers on the argument that certain people aren't able to benefit from these benefits. Instead, we should make it possible for anyone to benefit from these benefits, or encourage them to take advantage of them," she said.
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