Nature (the journal) is pro-cognitive-enhancing drugs

December 11th, 2008 by jose

Nature has published a paper that advocates the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs: "Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy"

The comments on Nature’s opinion forum are varied, but in general people seems to be against:

"How dare they have the audacity to suggest such a thing?! The solution to the increasing “unnaturalness” in human society is not to simply shrug, say “why stop at homes, clothes, etc” as the authors suggest, and start drugging up otherwise healthy adults! "

As a scientist I do not relish my peers or younger colleagues taking such drugs for the extra edge in career success. I do not relish getting “confidential” advice from a tenure review committee member that next time I should try taking a daily dose of “X”.

We have talked about this before, and I thought that seeing such a strong, influential outlet taking positions on it (by publishing a paper; one could argue that the publisher doesn’t really need to share views with what it published, but still) is important enough to post.

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16 Responses to “Nature (the journal) is pro-cognitive-enhancing drugs”

  1. jose brandaoNo Gravatar Says:

    There’s a very relevant short story on the subject called ‘Time Regained’ by Ignacio Padilla in his book ‘Antipodes’ (

    It discusses the effects of a drug that enables people to just need 2 hours of sleep per day, thus people cannot literally blame their frustrations on the lack of time to do things. But it comes at a price…

  2. allieNo Gravatar Says:

    Really…what’s the difference between “pro-cognitive enhancing drugs” aka “Smart Drugs” or “Nootropics” than consuming daily amounts of caffeine?

  3. TigerTomNo Gravatar Says:

    Want to know the best intelligence-enhancer?

    Nourishing food and a good night’s sleep, every night.

  4. srwNo Gravatar Says:

    Doping test for Scientists!

  5. Bingo CallerNo Gravatar Says:

    I my self don’t mind the use if people really need them. However on the same note I would have to say that some people use them just to get high. When I have a hard week and little sleep I will use one here and there but I have a friend that uses them every say all day. So I really don’t care for them cause they can become a everyday thing.

  6. Drug Recovery GuruNo Gravatar Says:

    Interesting article. Eye opening. Weird.

  7. MeshifNo Gravatar Says:

    Interesting stuff.
    I’m from Russia, and do not understand english well yet, but medicine now is a part of science I’m looking for.
    Sorry for my english again ^_^

  8. pNo Gravatar Says:

    you never say what these drugs are and i am new to this. what are they?

  9. Ed in Fort LauderdaleNo Gravatar Says:

    : there is a reference to X in this specific article but I believe its drugs in general.

  10. NLP CoachNo Gravatar Says:

    I would be very skeptical of using any drugs for cognitive enhancements. Although drugs like LSD have been used to expand the mind, some people receive neurological damage or addiction from drug use.

  11. NLP TrainingNo Gravatar Says:

    Mmm strange, I don’t know if I could agree with drugs specially for cognitive enhancement, but I find the idea extremely interesting. thanks for sharing.

  12. GeorgeNo Gravatar Says:

    I think it’s important to note the difference between synthetic drugs and naturally occurring “stimulants” such as caffeine and sugar if you’re looking at substances that make folk “sharper”.

    And where to draw the line between nutrition and “stimulant”?

    Thanks anyway for provoking thought.

  13. shashero brantNo Gravatar Says:

    Well…if you want to talk semantics then caffeine and sugar can be thought of as “drugs” for cognitive enhancement. Think about it.

    And there is no line to draw between nutrition and “stimulant”. That is because everyone is biologically & biochemically different, unique, so not only do responses vary but needs to.

    You see, two plus two doesn’t always equal five.

  14. medical staffing SoftwareNo Gravatar Says:

    George, i agree with you, finding the line between the line between nutrition and “stimulant” is now a days more and more difficult, I work in a medical facility and all the medical staff spend all time talking about the importance of nutrition but at the same time, they don’t stop drinking redbull and coffee…. ironic isn’t it?

  15. Learn NLPNo Gravatar Says:

    Is is difficult point, in my point of view I don’t find any use with any pro cognitive drugs. I prefer the full power of training

  16. ikeNo Gravatar Says:

    To not see the potential of pro cognitive drugs is just narrow mindedness. Who really cares about students “cheating” to get better grades? If that is the ONLY focus then the REAL point is missed. Cognitive enhancement’s real benefit is not in the classroom but in the labs and studies on the fringe and cutting edges of discovery. It is in the basements and garages of everyday folk who want to contribute to the world knowledge base and discovery. It is the middle aged career person who wants to expand his or her horizons by learning a new language or subject. Our salvation lies in enhancing the normal not as well as repairing the damaged.

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