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Sunday, April 20, 2008

20 Percent of Scientists Admit Using Brain-Enhancing Drugs -- Do You?

Nature released the results of an online survey in which 20 percent of respondents, largely drawn from the scientific community, admitted to using brain-enhancing drugs like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Provigil (modafinil).

Sixty-two percent of the scientists who had taken drugs used Ritalin while 44 percent reported using Provigil and only 14 percent had tried beta blockers like propranolol.

The 1,427-person survey was launched after a duo of articles this winter touched off a storm of questions about widespread neuroenhancer use by the scientific community. Jonathan Eisen of UC-Davis, an evolutionary biologist, even successfully spread an April Fools' rumor that the National Institutes of Health were planning to regulate the use of brain "steroids" as a condition of funding scientists.

All of this led me to ask scientists (and other readers) three questions:

1. Have you used cognitive enhancers?
2. Did they work for you?
3. Would you talk to me about your experiences?

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