Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement

Sharon Morein-Zamir and Barbara J. Sahakian

in Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199570706
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement

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Pharmacological substances used to improve cognition and brain function range from dietary supplements and caffeine to drugs targeted at altering particular neurochemical concentrations in the brain. This article considers current scientific research into pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement (PCEs) and likely future directions. Then it discusses the trends in the use of PCEs within patients groups for whom they were intended, as well as in those for whom they were not originally intended, including healthy adults and children. Finally, it provides an overview of current and future ethical considerations and concludes that the use of PCE will likely continue both within patient and healthy individuals in the foreseeable future. Information regarding actual use, benefits, and harms in various populations is severely lacking. Therefore, more emphasis should be placed on obtaining the relevant empirical data, for example, by the long-term monitoring of effectiveness and side effects, and by accurate large-scale surveys to assess actual usage.

Keywords: cognition; brain function; pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement; neurochemical concentrations; ethical

Article.  7861 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Clinical Psychology

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