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13 October 2009

Mind meds boost brain's performance

A group of seven leading German academics called Monday for wider acceptance and detailed scientific study of the use of drugs to improve the mental performance of healthy people.

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Drugs to boost the brain function of healthy people? A group of seven leading German academics called Monday for wider acceptance and detailed scientific study of the use of drugs to improve the mental performance of healthy people.

Reporting back on a project financed by Germany's Science Ministry, they said it was time for public debate on so-called neuro-enhancement drugs to optimise the workings of the brain.

Many healthy people were already experimenting informally with drugs intended to cure mental disability, they added. The appeal appears in the newest issue of a German scientific journal, Gehirn und Geist.

The authors, led by philosopher Thorsten Galert, said there were no scientific studies confirming that any specific substance could improve the performance of a healthy person. They said all the current studies had to be conducted in secrecy because the topic was taboo.

Many already experimenting
They suggested that some healthy people were already trying out anti-depressants or medications for attention deficit syndrome.

"We are of the view that there can be no convincing fundamental objection to pharmaceutical improvements to the brain or mind," said the group, which comprised scientists, philosophers and lawyers.

They said study was needed too of how healthy people coped with drugs that altered their personalities long term. - (Sapa, October 2009)

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