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Published on 22 May 2008

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Warning over brain-boosting drugs


Specialists have called for the use of “brain-boosting” drugs to be monitored following concerns that they could be misused as performance-enhancing drugs are in sport.

The emerging drugs, known as cognition enhancers, affect the brain by improving short-term memory or speeding up thought processes.

A report from the UK’s Academy of Medical Sciences �” a body set up to promote healthcare advances �” draws parallels between these drugs and physical performance boosters sometimes misused in sport.

The organisation has called for a full assessment of the effects of cognition enhancers and ongoing monitoring of their nonmedical use.

The report said an increasing number and variety of psychoactive drugs would emerge over the next few decades. Some would allow new treatments for addiction and mental health, but others could increase the burden of drug abuse.

The report highlighted the importance of a health-based approach to reducing the harm caused by misusing drugs.

Sir Gabriel Horn, chair of the working group which made the recommendations, commented: “It is likely that the use of cognition enhancers will increase.

“An assessment of the social and economic impacts now will allow Government and others to consider ‘localised’ regulation around use in schools, universities and the workplace.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Academy of Medical Sciences

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