In the Loop

Scientists using "brain enhancing drugs"?

Posted at 10:21 AM on April 15, 2008 by Sanden Totten

It's not just athletes that are juicing.

Wired's science blog threw up a story about a recent survey that found that 20 percent of polled scientists admitted to using "brain enhancing drugs". Drugs like Ritalin, Provigil and Propranolol. Drugs that increase concentration and productivity.

One in every five scientists are getting a brain boost. That's a pretty shocking number. I'm not sure how sound this study is but it's likely there is some truth to it. Given that one in five college students are taking psychostimulants, it makes sense that the trend would continue after graduation.

But science isn't sports. These folks are competitive, sure, but is it really a bad thing if scientists are "enhancing" their abilities? If the goal is to advance the field overall, does it matter if some scientists are taking pills? Maybe we'd be better off if there was a race of super-enhanced brainy scientists solving all of the worlds problems . . . or maybe not.

April 2008
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