20% of scientists in an informal survey admitted to using ‘cognitive enhancing’ drugs


Here are the results of the poll David mentioned in his post about brain enhancement drugs last month.

We asked specifically about three drugs: methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulant normally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder but well-known on college campuses as a ’study aid’; modafinil (Provigil), prescribed to treat sleep disorders but also used off-label to combat general fatigue or overcome jet lag; and beta blockers, drugs prescribed for cardiac arrhythmia that also have an anti-anxiety effect.

The most popular of the drugs used by respondents to Nature’s poll seem to have fairly mild neuroenhancing effects, says Chatterjee, who calls the massive media interest in these drugs “neurogossip”. Nevertheless, the numbers suggest a significant amount of drug-taking among academics. As Eisen’s April Fool’s prank [about about a NIH crackdown brain doping] spread from blog to blog, it was hard to tell who was in on the joke and who was taking the announcement at face value. Although tricking people was a goal, Eisen had been aiming for something so ridiculous that most would chuckle. Instead, he worries that he might have hit a nerve: “I think it did make it less funny because it is actually too real.”

Link (via Daily Grail)