Most people looking for a mind clearing, mood boost in the morning reach for a cup of coffee but a new drug could really enhance your mental ability.
It sound like a pitch for the Hollywood thriller Limitless starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro but it may be about to become a reality. A drug that could actually help you do, what you do – but better.
The prescription medicine is usually used to treat the sleeping condition narcolepsy, but has been found to enhance the minds of people who are not sleep-deprived, making them more alert and able to concentrate better. UK and US scientists have analysed a collection of previous studies and found that the performance-enhancing capacity of the ‘smart drug’ varied according to the task, with the drug helping people do better during longer and more complex tasks.
Modafinil (also known as Provigil) is normally used to treat the sleep disorder but it may be the world’s first true smart drug, according to new research. It enhances attention, improves learning, and boosts “fluid intelligence”—which we use to solve problems and think creatively. And it does all that without the addictive qualities of caffeine.
It’s not fully understand how the drug works, but one theory is that it enhances brain activity in areas that manage those skills. The review, published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, looked at 24 placebo-controlled studies of healthy, non-sleep-deprived people conducted between 1990 and 2014.
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Modafinil has been around for a long time, and its off-label use as smart drug is well-known in some circles. The use of cognitive enhancers is seen by many as cheating, and it is often compared to doping in sports.
Would you take a drug that could make you sharper, faster and more focused?