Cognitive enhancement drugs

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agaton
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 02:17 pm
Hi. As my job is quite boring I usually have some podcasts to listen to. Recently I got "philosophy bites" and there was a very interesting podcast treating about cognitive enhancement drugs...

Is there anyone who tried it? What do you think about it?

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings. On the one side it seems to be bit... immoral(?)... but not, it isn't a good word... It's like cheating... sort of...

On the other side... if it helps, why not? Progress, development, improvement... evolution Very Happy
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 02:44 pm
@agaton,
I wonder, what types of drugs do you consider to be those that can cause "cognitive enhancement"? How do we know that they enhance cognition? Are there reliable tests done in studies that show this?

There are studies showing that stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, Adderall, Ritalin, and others can improve performance on tests that are supposed to measure cognitive ability.
 
agaton
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 05:49 pm
@agaton,
I found this link when I put cognitive enhancement in the Web:
Nootropic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To be honest, I didn't even know that there are drugs like this... I didn't even consider the possibility of existing drugs like this... Not very wise of me but it's true...

The question is how it works in a long run... Is it working? Are there any side-effects? It's interesting... I didn't decided if I want to use it and I hope to hear some opinions before I decide. It may be an opportunity founded by science... or the biggest mistake in one's life...
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 06:01 pm
@Pangloss,
What drugs are you speaking of?

I dont get where morality comes form or goes too in this.
You take it, it kills you or makes you better.
Or you dont take it and you die or you stay better.
It is lottery not morality.
Is it moral to take asprin?
Comes form nature distilled by us.

Different drugs for different thugs?

Having quit smoking this week i can see what stimulant means, but did it make me a better or worse person for smoking i dont think it works that way.
Did the drug make my thoughts? i would like to think so but they probably did not.
Does it somehow fell colder slower less in here without what my body is used to? Yes, but that is transient.
Soon i will be better than before, or is that just as i should be? in moralities term?
Am i supposed to be without the drug to be better, or am i supposed to be just the same?
Does it make me unatural by interring other substances that are also natural by their very creation?
Does the term 'clean' lose its substance/compass when we realise that all that is created is natural in one form or another for the fact it is real and is there to be used (has impact, is evolution)?

Do i give steriods to my charge to make him survive, when and if he survives later on in his life he could and probably will go through even higher forms of pain (unaturality)?
The morality of my decision not his, is it even moral when it comes to survival?
Am i forcing unaturality by insisting by the drugs effect he live?
Or is life by any cost the only natural thing?
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 06:03 pm
@agaton,
agaton;104550 wrote:
I found this link when I put cognitive enhancement in the Web:
Nootropic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
To be honest, I didn't even know that there are drugs like this... I didn't even consider the possibility of existing drugs like this... Not very wise of me but it's true...

The question is how it works in a long run... Is it working? Are there any side-effects? It's interesting... I didn't decided if I want to use it and I hope to hear some opinions before I decide. It may be an opportunity founded by science... or the biggest mistake in one's life...


At this point, I'd recommend saving your money. That would be the smart move, I would think. I went through a phase where I tried a number of supplements that supposedly enhance memory and cognition (Lecithin, DHEA, fish oil, Celastrus seeds, etc.), but I noticed no real change. I'm as stupid as ever.

I find it odd now that I even went for these, as homeopathic remedies and medical quackery are two of my main peeves.

I think that any benefits of these enhancements may be related to the fact that if you are taking them you are making more of an effort to think clearly, and perhaps refreshing neural pathways by this very activity. But I wouldn't state that as any more than my guess, not being a brain expert.

There are several others on this forum that would have far more credibility in this matter than I.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Thu 19 Nov, 2009 06:15 pm
@TickTockMan,
If you dont find it in a raw state perhaps it is unatural?
 
agaton
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 11:49 am
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;104552 wrote:
What drugs are you speaking of?

I dont get where morality comes form or goes too in this.
You take it, it kills you or makes you better.
Or you dont take it and you die or you stay better.
It is lottery not morality.
Is it moral to take asprin?
Comes form nature distilled by us.

Different drugs for different thugs?

Having quit smoking this week i can see what stimulant means, but did it make me a better or worse person for smoking i dont think it works that way.
Did the drug make my thoughts? i would like to think so but they probably did not.



It has a lot to do with morality... Consider that you are a student, inteligent and ambitious... you are working very hard to achieve the best position, to get better job... but you cannot, because there is someone who uses cognitive enhancement drugs (assuming that they work)... Do you think that it's ok? Do you think that people should have equal rights? If one cannot afford such enhancement, does it mean that he should't have the same chance?

We live in the world where equality is quite important... we fight against rasism, against unequal treatment etc... Cognitive enhancement drugs may make equality quite obsolete...

I'm not saying that I perceive it this way. I'm saying that it may be an issue.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 11:55 am
@agaton,
Yes, drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, which are just prescribed amphetamines for "ADD", are widely abused by students and professionals for the cognitive enhancement. So, if your classmate or coworker outperforms you thanks to their drug abuse, and is rewarded for it, what message does this send? Same thing goes for steroids. In our culture, the means justify the end, I guess.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:22 pm
@agaton,
We're morally ok with caffeine -- quite ok if you look at all the energy drinks out there these days. Ritalin, Adderal, and other stimulants used to treat ADHD have important safety and side effect issues that are less a problem with caffeine. So the question becomes less is the cognitive 'enhancement' a problem, but rather is it being done safely and legally.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:31 pm
@agaton,
Sure, but from what I've heard, and from my knowledge of those prescription amphetamines, we're talking about quite a difference when compared to caffeine. Everyone drinks coffee and tea, and has for years, and its enhancement effects are notable, but not extraordinary. With these more powerful stimulants, the difference that is made is incredible, at least from what I've seen/heard from students who have used the stuff.

But in the case of Adderall and Ritalin, usually it is not done legally and safely. First of all, it seems that these drugs are handed out like free candy at many doctors' offices; how many of the people being prescribed really have "ADD"? Not most, it seems. I've known people who convince their doctors they have it so they can sell it to others for improving test performance, etc. This is not legal, of course.

It does not seem to be safe, either. These drugs are much more powerful stimulants than caffeine; caffeine's safety has been studied quite extensively, and it isn't dangerous at all, from what I've seen of the studies. Adderall and Ritalin haven't been proven safe in the long-term, and I know they have been linked to cardiovascular problems in children and others...I mean, they are amphetamines, so it seems that this should follow. From what I can gather on these drugs, I'm at little less risk using them than I would be taking modest doses of Cocaine or Meth, aside from the fact that the latter two illegal drugs are not controlled for purity. But maybe I'm off on that one. Certainly they have very similar pharmacological effects.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:43 pm
@Aedes,
What is meant by "cognitive enhancement" anyway?
It seems to me there is a substantial difference between using a
stimulant of some sort to increase focus and attention, versus
an IQ increasing "Smart Pill."

Hasn't there also been a recent study that caffeine actually has
a negative effect on memory?

Here's an interesting related article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/weekinreview/09carey.html
 
Aedes
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:44 pm
@agaton,
The difference is probably not that great -- but people get tolerant to caffeine and need escalating doses, it's short acting, and it makes you jittery and have heartburn and have to piss all the time. People who take large overdoses of ritalin are probably not performing at some cognitively enhanced level compared with anything (including caffeine) -- maybe it will improve physical stamina. These are not wonderdrugs, we use them all the time with variable success in sleep disorders and ADHD.

As for how many people really have ADHD who take it -- hard to know. This is a multifactorial question. 1) ADHD is very overdiagnosed, and 2) people who have ADHD tend to self-medicate for it even if they don't know they have it. So your question is being confounded from both directions.
 
Pangloss
 
Reply Fri 20 Nov, 2009 02:09 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;104696 wrote:
The difference is probably not that great -- but people get tolerant to caffeine and need escalating doses, it's short acting, and it makes you jittery and have heartburn and have to piss all the time. People who take large overdoses of ritalin are probably not performing at some cognitively enhanced level compared with anything (including caffeine) -- maybe it will improve physical stamina. These are not wonderdrugs, we use them all the time with variable success in sleep disorders and ADHD.


Ask any college student who uses Ritalin or Adderall for studying, and you will get quite a different answer. Everything I've heard makes it sound more like a wonder drug than not...when it comes to test-taking, incredibly heightened concentration levels lead to (or maybe combine with) enhanced short-term memory abilities. I've also heard that these effects come from cocaine and meth as well.

Clearly using these drugs for this type of activity is illegal, unless it was prescribed to you for your supposed attention 'disorder'. But have there been any reliable studies done that support the safety of these drugs in the long-term?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 02:15 pm
@Pangloss,
Sure, eat some Adderall, think faster. It works. But this "enhancement" ends some hours later leaving you burned out. While I do not know with certainty what the long term effects of use are for those of us without ADD, I doubt they are "enhancement".

Drugs always come with sacrifices.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 03:35 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;105435 wrote:


Drugs always come with sacrifices.


U dint kno what u r talk bout I have did lot droogs an
dont fill like i not smart than evr was! also i never
done no sarcriface of no one whyle on i when drugs!!!
 
Aedes
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 07:18 pm
@Pangloss,
Pangloss;104712 wrote:
Ask any college student who uses Ritalin or Adderall for studying, and you will get quite a different answer. Everything I've heard makes it sound more like a wonder drug than not.
Perhaps it's a wonder drug for people who stay up all night and need some alternative to sleep in order to perform well.

Pangloss;104712 wrote:
have there been any reliable studies done that support the safety of these drugs in the long-term?
PLENTY such data for Ritalin, it's one of the more common questions I had to answer when I was a resident in general pediatrics. There was some evidence of growth delay or weight loss in children on ritalin, but it did not pan out in long term studies. The biggest adverse event is tics, including exacerbations of Tourette's syndrome. Another major issue is misdiagnosing bipolar disorder as ADHD, because ritalin is NOT an appropriate therapy for bipolar disorder (at least not in the absence of mood stabilizers).

Here's a summary from UpToDate (an evidence based online library for physicians). Note that the generic name of Ritalin is methylphenydate.

UpToDate utdol.com wrote:

Adverse effects - Stimulants have been used to improve symptoms of ADHD for more than 50 years [44] and generally are considered to have a favorable safety profile. Rare, serious adverse events have been reported in children being treated with stimulants, but a causal association has not been established.


General - Many of the side effects associated with methylphenidate and amphetamines are mild, of short duration, and reversible with adjustments to the dose or dosing interval [16,17]. The occurrence of side effects is similar with methylphenidate and amphetamines, although treatment with mixed amphetamine salts may be associated with greater decrease in weight over time than treatment with methylphenidate [16,18,45,46]. Side effects may occur more commonly in children who are treated for ADHD during the preschool years [47]. Methylphenidate does not appear to increase the frequency or severity of seizures in children who also are receiving appropriate anticonvulsant medications [48-50].
Common side effects include:

  • Anorexia or appetite disturbance (80 percent)
  • Sleep disturbances (3 to 85 percent)
  • Weight loss (10 to 15 percent)

Less common side effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, headache, social withdrawal, nervousness, irritability, stomach pain, and rebound irritability or moodiness [51-57]. Deceleration of linear growth may occur, but adult height is not affected [58-63]. Patients treated with the methylphenidate patch may develop contact sensitization [22].


Manipulation of the dose or formulation may be helpful when children who respond to stimulant medications develop the adverse effects described above [11,64]. As an example, a shorter-acting preparation of the same medication (table 1 and table 2), may alleviate side-effects in a child who has difficulty falling asleep and has otherwise appropriate sleep hygiene [11]. Anorexia or appetite disturbance can be addressed by administering medications after meals, or eating within 30 to 40 minutes after dose administration. However, meals with high fat content may reduce the absorption of extended-release mixed amphetamine salt preparations and beaded methylphenidate preparations [65].


Cardiovascular - Adverse cardiovascular effects of stimulants and the cardiac evaluation for children receiving pharmacotherapy for ADHD are discussed separately. (See "Cardiac evaluation of children receiving pharmacotherapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder".)
We suggest that clinicians who prescribe medications for ADHD discuss the benefits and potential adverse effects of treatment with parents and patients [66,67]. This discussion should emphasize the uncertainty about a causal association between serious cardiovascular risks (including sudden unexpected death) and stimulant medications for children with cardiac symptoms or a positive family history of heart disease. We do not suggest obtaining a routine electrocardiogram (ECG) before initiation of pharmacotherapy for ADHD.


Psychiatric - The FDA has received reports of potential psychiatric adverse events in children treated with stimulant medications. These include psychosis or mania, including hallucinations that emerged with treatment [68-70]. The symptoms resolved with discontinuation of the medication in many cases, and recurred with resumption in some [69]. However, the warnings section of the prescribing information for stimulant medication was revised to indicate the possibility of emergent psychotic or manic symptoms (eg, hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania) during stimulant therapy in children and adolescents.
We suggest that ADHD medications be discontinued in children who develop acute unexpected behavioral reactions such as suicidality, hallucinations, or increased aggression. The medications can be discontinued abruptly, without tapering. We do not recommend initiation of anti-psychotic drugs for these patients, but referral to a qualified mental health clinician and/or psychopharmacologist.


Tics - Approximately 15 to 30 percent of children who are treated with stimulant medications develop motor tics, most of which are transient [10]. In children who have chronic tics or Tourette syndrome (approximately 50 to 60 percent of whom have comorbid ADHD), low to moderate doses of methylphenidate often improve attention and behavior without worsening tics [71-74]. On the other hand, withdrawal of chronic methylphenidate in children with ADHD and Tourette syndrome can result in a decrease in frequency and severity of tics, with an increase when methylphenidate is reinitiated [75]. Although predicting the effect of medication on tics is not possible, most children with tics and ADHD benefit from moderate doses of stimulants without worsening of tics [10,16,74]. (See "Tourette syndrome", section on 'Attention deficit disorder and tics'.)


Diversion and misuse - Stimulant diversion consists of the transfer of medication from the patient for whom it was prescribed to another individual [76]. Stimulant misuse consists of taking higher doses of medication than prescribed to achieve euphoria or combining stimulant medications with illicit drugs or alcohol [76].


A systematic review of studies related to diversion and misuse of ADHD medications indicated that 5 to 9 percent of grade- and high-school-age students and 5 to 35 percent of college-age individuals reported nonprescribed stimulant use in the year before the study [77]. The proportion of students with stimulant prescriptions who were ever asked to give, sell, or trade their medications ranged from 16 to 29 percent. Diversion and misuse were more common among whites, members of fraternities and sororities, students with lower grade point averages, and students who report ADHD symptoms. Diversion and misuse also was more common with immediate- than extended-release preparations. The most commonly reported reasons for stimulant diversion and misuse included studying, staying awake, improved alertness, experimenting, and "getting high."


Another survey compared diversion and misuse of psychotropic medications (eg, stimulants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, alpha-adrenergic agents, etc.) among 55 adolescents and young adults with ADHD and 42 adolescents and young adults with other conditions [76]. Stimulant diversion and misuse were more frequent among subjects with ADHD than with other conditions (11 versus 0 percent for diversion and 22 versus 5 percent for misuse) [76]. All of the ADHD subjects who diverted or misused their medication had either comorbid conduct disorder or substance use disorder.


Stimulant diversion and misuse can be prevented, to some extent, by prescribing long-acting formulations (table 2) with less potential for abuse, and by keeping track of prescription dates [11]. It is also helpful to have an open discussion about stimulant diversion and misuse with patients and parents so that students can be prepared if they are approached by peers to sell or misuse medications and so that parents can remain vigilant in monitoring medications [11].
 
Poseidon
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 04:11 pm
@agaton,
Cannabis improves my concentration so long as I eat many small meals, and don't try and smoke it on an empty stomach, as it seems to use up the nutrients more than normal. (like a turbo-booster)

This is what causes the short term memory loss many people experience - lack of food. (As a result of unquenched munchies)

Why would it be banned for being a performance enhancing substance if it did not?
Surely if it made performance worse, then there would be no need to ban it in competitive sports? Its not like 100 metre sprinters are banned from chopping there toes off!

Unless of course the reason for it being banned is that its a convenient way to keep the prices sky-high for the sake of the gangsters.

Its more than ironic that the war-on-drugs does more to enrich gangsters by decreasing supply and increasing the price; and that those opposed to cannabis, are in fact creating a gangsters paradise. (1920's alcohol prohibibition - humanity never leanrs from its mistakes)

Anyhow the best performance enhancement 'drug' I have used is vitamin-B complex.
And my particular biology seems to require iron-supplements as well.

Also, cutting out refined sugar, lactose and gluten is a great recipe for increased concentration.

All the methods mentioned here don't 'make you smarter', they just allow you to concetrate for longer, which means less time is wasted getting into synch with your task.

Cannabis also helps by making tedious work seem more interesting, and so there is less 'quit-frustration'. Tedious physical labour becomes more productive due to it being more enjoyable.

But one really does have to be very conscious of one's eating habits to use cannabis effectively. In Rastafari the healthy diet is termed the 'Ital' diet.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 08:00 pm
@Poseidon,
agaton;104519 wrote:
Hi. As my job is quite boring I usually have some podcasts to listen to. Recently I got "philosophy bites" and there was a very interesting podcast treating about cognitive enhancement drugs...

Is there anyone who tried it? What do you think about it?

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings. On the one side it seems to be bit... immoral(?)... but not, it isn't a good word... It's like cheating... sort of...

On the other side... if it helps, why not? Progress, development, improvement... evolution [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Jerry/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]


I have actually tried out a few "cognitive enhancement" supplements in the past, and still take a few today. A while back I was studying for a graduate test and I wanted the best performance possible so that I had the energy to study and do well on the test. I was a maniacexercise one of the best things you can do to help you concentrate more. In my own case, I felt invigorated and ready to do complex mental tasks the day after running (but not the day itself). So alternating days is a good recommendation. Even when I didn't feel like it, I did about a half hour walk to get the blood pumping and fresh oxygen and bam, all is right with the world.

Also, diet is essential. Moderate protein meals with a vegetable. Anything that is dense in nutrients. No excessive amounts of carbohydrates (basically anything that could put you to sleep). But foods that are full of antioxidants like blueberries, strawberries, etc. (basically all the berries), it's all good.

As far as supplements are concerned, there are a few that I have tried.

One product that I still take to this very day is Soy lecithinCognitex with Pregnenolone and NeuroProtection complex. It's sold through LifeExtension.com and I have to say that this is great. It has everything, omega 3 fatty acids, grape seed extract, blueberry anthrocynins and peterostilbene, and all sorts of other oddly spelled yet somehow reassuring elements. I take this religiously. I definitely noticed its effects when I was sick for a few weeks and stopped taking it.

A supplement that I tried but I did NOT like is GABA with B6. It is supposed to give you a natural calming effect. When I took it for about a week, I got really dizzy and got a lot of headaches. LOL! Maybe I was too relaxed.

Also, a good thing to take is B complex
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 09:17 pm
@agaton,
Ironically, earlier this week my colleague admitted a kid who had overdosed on ritalin. That is as bad as any cocaine or amphetamine intoxication I've ever seen. Unbelievable. Took four security guards to prevent him from killing one of the nurses.
 
Hmmmm
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 09:42 pm
@Aedes,
I really don't have any qualms about using any form of drug for cognitive enhancement. Well, 'enhancement' is probably subjective anyways, it's just the feeling and effect of an increased amount of neurotransmitters en la synapse. As long as one does not overindulge in any one particular drug (to avoid undesirable side effects), shouldn't it be okay? Are we not responsible for what we put into our bodies? We're free to do with our bodies as we see fit, right?

Also, a nootropic drug that is not a derivative of amphetamine worth looking into is piracetam.

EDIT: Now I notice the huge 'Recreational use of drugs' thread at the bottom of the page, nice first post.
 
 

 
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