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Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement$
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Ruud ter Meulen, Ahmed Mohammed, and Wayne Hall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727392.001.0001

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Neuroenhancement: a call for better evidence on safety and efficacy

Neuroenhancement: a call for better evidence on safety and efficacy

(p.57) Chapter 4 Neuroenhancement: a call for better evidence on safety and efficacy
Rethinking Cognitive Enhancement

Charles F. Massie

Eric M. Yamga

Brendon P. Boot

Oxford University Press

Prescribing drugs for neuroenhancement demands that we re-evaluate our medication risk–benefit calculus: because there is no disease to treat, we should only accept well-characterized minor risks of treatment. We summarize the current evidence on the use of methylphenidate (Ritalin), mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall), modafinil (Provigil), cholinesterase inhibitors, and memantine with regards to this risk–benefit calculus. Next we discuss the implications of the current research on ethical approaches to neuroenhancement. Finally, we highlight some of the limitations of neuroenhancement from practical and ethical standpoints: difficulty in assessing enhancement in a given group of individuals, difficulty altering cognitive function without modifying other functions, the lack of neurochemical basis for the use of enhancers, and a complex understanding of societal ethical implications. We call for caution and patience, as better evidence is needed before we prescribe drugs to healthy individuals for the purpose of neuroenhancement.

Keywords:   neuroenhancement, Alzheimer ‘s disease treatment, cholinesterase inhibitors, memantine, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder treatment

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